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This soup is the perfect healthy comfort food for a cold winter night. Feel free to change the quantity of each ingredient and substitute other vegetables. You can also use bone in, skin on chicken breasts — just decrease the cooking time. To make this a bit hardier add cooked rice or soup noodles.

Ingredients:
4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
2-3 tsp of better than bouillon chicken base
2 squares of kombu
1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into small sticks
1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into small sticks
1 handful of chopped cabbage
2 handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of cubed firm tofu
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
A slice of lemon
Salt to taste

Note: Kombu is a thick seaweed that comes in small sheets. It is available at Japanese markets and Whole Foods Markets. It is good in soups and cooked with dry beans.

Put the kombu (seaweed) on the bottom of a medium sized pot. Add the chicken, chicken base, vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. Pour cool water into the pot covering the chicken by about 1 inch. Heat the pot on medium until it comes to a low boil. Let it boil for 4 minutes. Cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes. Add soy sauce and lemon and simmer for 20 minutes. Check to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Take the chicken, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms out of the pot and cut into bit size pieces. Add them back to the pot and serve with the broth and tofu. Season with salt to taste.

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I read Mark Bittman’s Automatic for the Summer article in the New York Times yesterday. In it he proposed the unconventional belief that a slow cooker isn’t just a cold weather appliance but the perfect tool for a summer stew. I had a lot of dried beans, random vegetables and herbs so I decided to try to make a summer stew.

I put 2 cups of dried beans (cannellini and a gourmet mix from Costco), 4 cups of water, about two pounds of vegetables ( zucchini, cabbage, onion and carrots), a generous sprinkling of herbs de Provence and kosher salt, and 4-6 sprigs of fresh oregano into my slow cooker. I set it on low for 10 hours. For serving — I added some fresh lemon juice, finishing salt, a bit of chopped fresh oregano and some extra virgin olive oil. It was really delicious lukewarm for lunch. I highly recommend experimenting with this recipe — add different herbs, vegetables and beans. Let me know if you discover some other good combinations.

Almost any homemade pizza dough recipe article will say that their pizza dough recipe is easier than ordering pizza delivery. Few things in this world are easier than calling and ordering a pizza — I am not going to lie. However, this pizza dough recipe I got from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook is very easy and fun for kids.

You need 5 ingredients:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
Toppings of choice

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1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the dry ingredients and mix with a big spoon until incorporated with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix and don’t knead the dough. You just need to form a ragged mass shaped like a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least three hours or up to 12 hours.

2. When you are ready, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking pan or iron skillet. Stretch or roll out the dough and press it in the pan or skillet and add toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

I got this recipe from Food 52. Their recipe melted extra chocolate and almonds as a topping but I didn’t think that was necessary.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 natural unsweetened almond butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups. rice cereal

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Line an 8X8 square pan or pie plate with wax paper. In a large saucepan, bring the maple and rice syrup to a boil for 1 minute — stir frequently. Remove from heat and add the other ingredients (except the cereal). Fold the rice cereal in at the end. Press into pan and let set for 2 hours or set in the refrigerator for 1hour.

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I have tried many different ways to coarsely grind whole spices. One day, I had to coarsely grind pepper to coat a steak. I was feeling lazy so I put the whole peppercorns in a ziplock bag and crushed them with a hammer. It worked! I have also used this method for crushing cardamom pods. I like this method because it is fun (you get to use a hammer), easy, and not messy. I highly recommend it!

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I like this recipe because there are not a lot of ingredients or steps. This is simple, delicious, healthy and kid-friendly.

First, I make the teriyaki sauce by putting 1/4 cup of soy sauce or tamari in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons mirin, 3 tablespoons honey, and 1/3 cup of water. Heat the sauce in a bowl big enough for marinating the chicken. I microwave the sauce for 20 seconds and then stir it until the honey dissolves.

Marinate a pound or two of boneless skinless chicken thighs in the sauce overnight or for as long as you can.

Heat your broiler to 550. Put the chicken on an aluminum foil lined roasting pan or deep baking pan. Pour marinade over chicken. Broil 6 inches from the heating element for 8 minutes. Flip and broil for 2 minutes. Flip again
and place pan right under heating element. Broil for one minute.

While broiling, baste the chicken with the heated marinade. Brush the sauce on at the end to serve.

Note: you are cooking the meat at a very high temperature so check on it every few minutes to make sure it isn’t burnt.

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This is a super easy way to make pizza at home. Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Oil an iron skillet. Press your favorite pizza dough into the skillet (I like Trader Joe’s dough). Add your toppings and cheese. Place in the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes and then serve.

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This is so easy and much healthier than store bought microwave popcorn. Put 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag (lunch bag size). Fold the paper bag twice at the top. Place the bag folded side down in the microwave. Microwave for two minutes. Enjoy plain or with salt, parmesan cheese, and/ or melted butter.

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Homemade Mac and Cheese is a bit time-consuming; so, you have to plan ahead. But, it is really easy to make and really delicious.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish or other large baking vessel with butter.

2. Grate 2 1/2 to 3 cups or so of your favorite cheese (the more cheese the cheesier your mac and cheese will be) — cheddar, jack, mozzarella are all good choices. Feel free to use a combination of cheeses.

3. Fill a pot with water and some salt. Boil water. Add about a pound of your favorite pasta. Cook according to instructions on the pasta box. Drain pasta and set aside.

4. While to pasta cooks, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium-sized saucepan. When it melts, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook the flour on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of non fat or whole milk. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat and add 2/3 of the grated cheese.

5. Combine cheese sauce and pasta in the a large bowl or the pot you used to boil the pasta. Add half the mixture to you baking dish. Sprinkle some grated cheese on it. Add the rest of the pasta and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

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This sauce is good on latkes or with oatmeal or yogurt. Peel and chop 4-6 pears. Put them in a sauce pan with 1/2 cup of water, a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes. Mash with a potato masher. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon slice and serve.

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