New Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

I got a roast the other day because I really wanted something beefy and comforting, but I didn’t want to make Moosie’s Pot Roast, because while it’s so good, it’s a tad heavy.

I wanted to make something beefy, flavorful, and rich, but not heavy. I pulled out a few cookbooks, looked through the cupboard and the cooler where the veggies are chilling (pun intended), and came up with this. It’s like Oso Bucco, Bolognese sauce, and beef stew had a complicated tryst. All of the fresh vegetables came from our Yasukochi CSA Box.

 

 

 

 

Italian Pot Roast

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chuck Roast (2-3 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced (I used Red, but use whatever you’ve got)
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6-8 fresh tomatoes, chopped (You can substitute 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Salt and pepper the roast and set aside. I recommend allowing the roast to warm up to room temp before searing it.
  2. In a large pan, heat 2 T. olive oil, and saute onions, peppers for about 10-15 minutes, until soft and browned.
  3. Add in carrots and garlic, and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes. Garlic will be slightly browned and fragrant.
  4. While veggies are cooking, chop up tomatoes and add to slow cooker.
  5. Add tomato paste to slow cooker.
  6. Add cooked veggies, bay leaf, and Italian Seasoning to the slow cooker.
  7. Add remaining 2 T. olive oil to the previously used large pan, and allow to warm.
  8. Sear the roast on all sides.
  9. Add roast to slow cooker.
  10. Pour wine into the large pan and turn heat to medium-high. Scrape all browned meat and veggie bits with a wooden spoon. One wine comes to a brief boil and all browned bits are scraped off the pan, pour liquid into the slow cooker.
  11. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  12. Put roast beef from the slow cooker, and shred with forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Cook for an additional hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes or pasta/noodles of your choice.

Easy Hummus Recipe!

Yesterday in my tabouli recipe, I mentioned I’d be sharing a hummus recipe soon. Here we are!

This recipe is super easy, and you can pick up all the ingredients in any grocery store, on Amazon, or even at Target.

Ingredients:

  • 2 15.5 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini (I like Tumeric Tahini from Havens Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or you can use 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • Garnishes (optional): additional olive oil, everything but the bagel seasoning, toasted sesame seeds, a sprinkle of cumin, sumac, chopped parsley)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor/blender, blend all of the ingredients (except the garnishes)
  2. If the hummus is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water and blend again. repeat as needed, adding up to 3 teaspoons of water.
  3. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  4. Pour into a bowl, top with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and any other additional garnishes as needed.
  5. Serve with veggies, pita, or chips/crackers.

This recipe is vegan, and gluten-free.

 

Easy, Tasty Tabouli Recipe!

I love tabouli (tabouleh)- It’s easy to make, and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long). It’s a delicious, easy summer salad.

This is my spin on traditional tabouli- I use Right Rice in place of bulgar wheat, but you can use whatever grain you like. Couscous, quinoa, or Israeli couscous are all great choices. My kids don’t like bulgar wheat.

This week in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box we received: Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lemon, and parsley.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grains of your choice, cooked as directed ( I use garlic herb or original Right Rice)
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (I used larger English cucumbers, but you can use the small Persian cukes and slice them into “coins”)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, diced
  • 1.5 cups parsley, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped finely (I like yellow or red)
  • 1/4 cup your favorite oil (olive or avocado are my favs)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook your grains per the package direction, and set them aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all veggies and toss with oil and lemon juice mixture.
  4. Fold in the cooled grains.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours minimum before serving.
  6. Season with additional kosher salt, and black pepper to taste as needed.

This salad goes great with hummus, pita, and grilled protein. I’ll have an awesome hummus recipe up in a few days!

This recipe is naturally vegan. If you use Quinoa or Right Rice, it is gluten-free as well.

 

It’s time for a sweet treat! .50 off Whole Fruit Bars!

I saw on TikTok the other day this super tasty looking snack. I was on the hunt for a coupon for Whole Fruit bars, and Voila! I’m off to shop for all of these ingredients today!

Start with a Whole Fruit Bar (The lady used a Mango one, but I think Pineapple would be good too)

Top with a drizzle of Chamoy, and finally, sprinkle with Tajin and enjoy!

An icy cold spicy treat!

With real fruit in every Whole Fruit bar, we gave nature’s candy a little upgrade. Enjoy one today

9/12/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week is our busy week. I have appointments for the kids Monday Tuesday Wednesday, in addition to all the other appointments and things that I have to do throughout the day. The weather is supposed to remain hot throughout the week, so my usual easy-to-cook/busy day meals aren’t really appropriate. Nobody wants to tuck into a bowl of soup when it’s still 85° outside at dinner time. So we are relying on some family favorites: breakfast for dinner, and the do-it-yourself salad bar.

I went grocery shopping on Friday before my job interview and picked up about 80% of what we needed for the week. I underestimated the amount of cream cheese we go through, and ice as well. So there will be a trip to the store later today.

I’m very much looking forward to our produce box this week. I plan on making up a big fruit salad for us to enjoy early on in the week, as well as roasted vegetables and a healthy-sized salad. Our CSA box provides us with so many delicious, farm-fresh vegetables and fruit. One thing that I love about it is that the company has a presence at so many southern California farmer’s markets throughout the week. So you can go and pick up produce at the farmers market, or order a CSA box. Whichever works best for you.

I also love that they have a fundraising offer for local nonprofits. So if you have a scouting troop or your local youth sports team, or if your PTA is tired of selling cookie dough and wrapping paper… You can sell CSA subscriptions instead! Click here to find out more about it, I’m kind of hoping that maybe our school PTA will give that a shot.

Veggies and fruit are delivered 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 did a great deal of meal prep today after the box was delivered- You can see some of what I did over on Instragram.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

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 have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

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. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: We’ve got a pretty good schedule down for dinners. We have nuggets (vegetarian for the boy child, chicken for the rest) on the nights that we have respite. It’s quick to prepare and clean up, and I can serve it on our cafeteria trays with other fingers foods (we have trays like these) like cut-up fruit, crackers, and cheese. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: hashbrowns, egg bites, fruit salad
  • Monday: Salad bar night, garlic baguette
  • Tuesday: Beans, rice, roasted veggies, quesadillas
  • Wednesday: Nugget night, fruit, cheese, and crackers
  • Thursday: Protein shakes, fruit, toast
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit

Please stay safe you guys!

Egg Bites: Quick, Easy Cook Ahead Breakfast (Starbucks CopyCat)

These are so good!
Ready to get into the oven.

I love the bacon and Gruyere Sous Vide Egg Bites at Starbucks, but… I’m frugal and those little dudes ain’t cheap.

So Sunday night, I set out to see if I could make them. This was a test batch, so I only did 6. I’ll be making more in the future. They are super easy to make, and you can customize them with ingredients you like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 T butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 sour cream or Creme Fraiche
  • 4 Oz chopped/shredded cheese (I used Kerrygold cheddar)
  • 1/3 cup bacon pieces (I use the ones from Costco)
  • salt and pepper to taste
greased cups in the shallow baking dish with water.

NOTES:
I used small glass bowls from dollar tree, but you can use a muffin tin, custard cups, whatever fits into a shallow baking dish (I used a 9×13 baking dish).

Directions:

  1. Spray cups/muffin tin with spray release, set aside.
  2. Fill a shallow pan with 1-2 cups water (start with 1). You want the baking cups/muffin tin cups to be covered in water on the outside, but you don’t want to water to get into the cups.
  3. Set the cups/muffin tin into the water bath pan.
  4. Sauté onions in butter until the onions are clear (about 10 minutes). Take off the heat and allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and sour cream until combined.
  6. Add cheese, bacon, and onions to mixture.
  7. Stir well to combine and add salt and pepper.
  8. Give it a quick mix and ladle it into the greased cups/ muffin tin.
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10-ish minutes.
  11. Run knife around the edges to free egg bites from the cups and allow to cool on a plate.

Store in fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute.

Substitutions:

  • If you are a vegetarian, omit the bacon. You can substitute the same amount of chopped veggies (bell peppers, and spinach are two of my favorites).
  • If Cheddar cheese isn’t your jam, goat cheese, gruyere, mozzarella are all good choices.
  • Finally, bacon can be swapped with crumbled sausage.

Starbucks Copycat Recipe: Medicine Ball/ColdBuster/Honey Citrus Mint Tea

This is one of my favorite hot drinks when I am not feeling well. Fever, sore throat, generally feeling run down, this drink is where it’s at.

But… I’m cheap and it’s not always convenient to hit up the ‘Bux. So I did a little research and found a frugal way to make this drink at home. I usually get my tea at Target or Walmart.

I use lemon juice in place of steamed lemonade for two reasons: Less sugar, and I like to use lemon juice (I prefer freshly squeezed but I’ll use True Lemon in a pinch).

I make 32 ounces at a time. that’s about two servings, perfect for when you don’t feel well.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a large, heatproof container (I use a teapot), combine water, honey, and lemon, stir until honey is dissolved.
  2. Add tea bags and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags and serve.

Makes two generous servings. Feel free to add more honey if you prefer your tea sweeter, or less lemon.

 

Family Recipe: Making Your Own Cordials and Liqueurs

I love making cordial and liqueurs. I’ve been making them for over 20 years, and they can take a little time and effort, but I promise you the end result is definitely worth it.

A few weeks ago I posted on Instagram about a cherry cordial that I had just started.

I know a lot of people think of cherry cordial they think of those Queen Anne’s chocolates with the goo in the middle and the maraschino cherry. And I promise you this is not that.

Ingredients/Supplies:

750ml (aka a fifth) bottle of mid-grade vodka or brandy. I like vodka because it usually doesn’t have any flavor of its own or has a very mild flavor. You want mid-grade because you want something that tastes ok on its own, but isn’t too cheap or too expensive.

3lbs. Fresh, Ripe Fruit– I prefer cherries, strawberries, pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces. With cherries, poke holes in the cherries with a knife, or if you have a cherry pitter, pit your cherries(not necessary, but it’s cool). You can use most fruit, stone fruits are great! The only two that I’ve made that turned out gross were banana and kiwi.

Sweetener- About 1 cup, but it can vary based on your desired level of sweetness. See below.

A clean jar with a screw-on lid. I washed my mason jar (this size) in the dishwasher.

Directions:

Before you start: It is crucial that you wash and dry the jar and both pieces of the lid (band and flat lid). Everything needs to be clean and free of bacteria- otherwise, this can turn funky.

  1. Pack the fruit into the jar, and pour alcohol over the fruit. The fruit needs to all be covered by the liquor. Why? Otherwise, the fruit will rot. Ewww.
  2. Screw the lid on tightly and place the jar in a cool dry place- I use the cupboard over the fridge. Give it a shake about once a month. After about 6 months, give it a taste. It may need to sit for up to a year to fully develop the full fruit flavor.  Sometimes the alcohol will leech the color from the fruit. This usually happens with strawberries.
  3. Once the fruit flavor is imparted to your liking, strain the solids off, press the excess liquid from the fruit and discard the solids.
  4. Wash and dry the jar and lid. Add the liquid back to the jar and sweeten as desired. I use simple syrup, but you can use honey or straight white sugar. I like simple syrup because it easily incorporates with the liquid. Whereas if you use honey or plain straight white sugar, you can end up with the sweetener sinking to the bottom and not fully incorporating. I start with a 1/4 cup, mix, taste, and adjust as needed.
  5. Allow this mixture to mellow and age at least 6 weeks. At this point, your fruit liqueur/cordial is ready to drink!

How do I drink Cherry Cordial? Usually with coke, but it’s good with all sorts of mixers. It also makes a great gift!

My next liqueur recipe will be for my award-winning Irish Cream. This stuff puts Bailey’s to shame! I’ll post it later this week.

Recipe: Crispy Onion Chicken

This is a delicious, easy recipe. And kids love it too!

Crispy Onion Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (your choice, I like breasts or thighs)
  • 2 cups French Fried Onions, crushed
  • 2 T. flour
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (You can use coconut oil or margarine if you are dairy free)

 

Directions:

  1. Place onions in a Ziploc bag and crush onions with a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine, whichever is handy)
  2. Pour crushed onions, flour, and pepper in a flat dish, mix thoroughly.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken in melted butter, and rolleach buttery piece in onion/flour mixture.
  4. Place each piece in a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked throughout.

I like to serve these with mashed potatoes, and a green salad (I really like this one).

 

Family Recipe: Chicken Fajitas Soup!

This Recipe is easy and tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 t. avocado oil
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced.
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (leftover rotisserie chicken is great for this)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 packet fajitas seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 c. uncooked rice

Toppings: Crispy Jalepenos, cheddar cheese, avocado

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onions in oil until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, stirring often. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add in peppers, celery, carrots, and can of tomatoes. Cook over medium until celery is tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

This recipes serves 8-10. It freezes well.

Substitutions/tips:

  • This can be made with beef instead using cooked chopped beef and beef stock in place of chicken.
  • Or make it vegetarian omitting meat and substituting veggie stock.
  • If you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, substitute 5 tomatoes (peeled and chopped) in place of the can of tomatoes.