This blog... a compilation of my favorite recipes. They have been collected over several years found in various places: the internet, magazines, and cookbooks to name a few. These recipes are meals that I consider to "feed more than your body". These are meals that I hope nurish the heart and soul of those who eat them. I hope that when you have cleaned your plate, you feel like you have taken part in more than just a meal-that you have taken part in something bigger than yourself and food. Whether it is culture, your local place of living, or the life of the plant or those who share this planet, I hope these meals help your family-and mine-to appreciate that we are more than just beings consuming food; we are all connected. And more than that, I hope that these meals help you remember how fortunate you are and that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.".

Monday, January 18, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichokes

2 jars artichoke hearts, drained and divided **
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2- 2 pounds chicken**
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/5 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups whole wheat cous cous OR 1 cup quinoa**
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a slow cooker, combine one jar of artichoke hearts, the onion, garlic, spices, broth and chicken. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Then place zucchini, tomatoes, and second package of artichokes in the cooker; re-cover and heat for another 15-30 minutes, or until veggies are cooked. (You know it is done when the tomatoes are just about to burst or a few have.) Remove chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon; cover them with foil to keep warm. Stir the couscous or quinoa into the remaining liquid; add lemon juice. Cover and cook until grain is done and (most of) the liquid is absorbed. Serve chicken and vegetables over couscous or quinoa.

**Note-If you want your artichokes to have a more mild flavor, then add both jars in at the beginning. Adding the second jar the last 30 minutes of cooking makes the artichoke have a stronger taste.
**Note-Use any sort of chicken you have on hand. If you are using bone-in, use about 2lbs. If you are using boneless then 1 1/2 lbs should be fine. When you remove the veggies and chicken, set aside your chicken so you can take the skin off and the bones out and just have the meat in with the veggies. After cooking so long the chicken should fall right off.
**Note-If you are using cous cous, you can add it to the slower cooker and it will cooking in 5-10 minutes. If you are using quinoa, it may take much, much longer, possibly an hour. If you don't have that sort of time, I recommend putting your remaining broth in a pot on the stove and cooking your quinoa according to packaged directions.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Zesty Rice

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice (or brown rice)
2 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pot. Add garlic, and rice and saute for 2 minutes until rice is toasted. Add 2 1/4 cups water, chili seasoning and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer as directed on packaging.

In a large bowl combine onion, yellow pepper, cooled rice, beans, vinegar and cilantro. Mix well.

Herb Roasted Pork with Mustard Sauce

1 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup honey Dijon mustard, divided**
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen pearl onions**

Oven at 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray; set aside. Rinse tenderloin under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 4 servings. Use a pastry brush to brush 1/4 cup mustard on pork loin. Sprinkle tenderloin pieces with about half the rosemary. Place on prepared baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine chicken broth and pearl onions. Reduce liquid by half and add remaining 1/4 cup mustard and rosemary. Heat thoroughly. Serve roasted tenderloins hot with onions and sauce.

**Note-If you don't have honey dijon just use half honey and half dijon-or a combo to your liking.

**Note-If you don't have pearl onions feel free to substitute regular chopped onions.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

1 red bell pepper cored and cut into 4 pieces
1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut across into 1/4-inch rounds
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
Olive oil cooking spray
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a tray or work surface. Lightly spray both sides with olive oil cooking spray. Preheat a grill or grill pan over a medium-high heat. Grill the vegetables in batches until both sides are nicely charred and the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes for the pepper, about 8 minutes for the eggplant and onion, and about 6 minutes for the zucchini. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and oregano. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the tomatoes. Divide the salad between 4 plates and sprinkle with the feta.

**Note-This salad is particularly tasty with pita-either chips or put into the bread and served as a light lunch.

"Refried" Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder, or other chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili powder and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the beans and chicken broth and cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Mash the beans coarsely with the back of a wooden spoon, adding more chicken broth to moisten, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

**Note-These definitely do not taste like canned refried beans, however they are healthier than refried beans in a can (because you are controlling the ingredients) and they also work in a pinch. You can substitute black beans for pinto beans if that's all you have.

3 Bean Vegetarian Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water (or broth)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles (or a 4oz can of diced chilis)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano and salt and pepper. Cook, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Chick Pea Salad

2 (19-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Let sit about an hour to let flavors meld.

**Note-if you have leftovers of this, combine it with some cumin, a bit of flour if it's too dry and about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda per cup of leftovers. Pulse everything in food processor, form into balls, and bake 15-20 minutes at 400 for easy, quick baked falafel!

Banana Topping

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices

In a small saucepan, combine butter, pumpkin pie spice, molasses, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, add bananas then lower heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove syrup from heat, cover and keep warm. Serve over French toast, pancakes or waffles.

**Note-This topping is a great alternative to real maple syrup, which is quite expensive. Now you have a tasty alternative that isn't expensive and doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pantry Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomato
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans or cannellini beans
1 (10 ounces) box, cut frozen green beans
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil, torn or shredded
Grated Parmigiano or Romano, to pass at table

Sautee garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, onions, carrots, celery and zucchini in oil. Cook 10 minutes, then add in the stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring soup up to a bubble and season with salt and pepper, to your taste. Simmer 15-30 minutes, until veggies are softened and the taste is where you want it. Turn off the heat and wilt the basil into the soup. Ladle up the soup and serve with grated cheese and bread.

**Note-Feel free to take away what you don't have on hand and add what you do. It's a great clean out your pantry soup!

Chili Garlic Roasted Broccoli

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend
1-2 large head broccoli, cut into thin, long spears

Oven at 425 degrees F.

Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears. Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet. Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and stalks are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

**Note-this is another one of my all time favorite recipes! Yummy!

Coconut Cream Pie

Caramel Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk

3/4 (13.5-ounce) can (about 1 cup) coconut milk, reserve remaining for caramel sauce
1 cup milk
1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding
1 (9-inch) pre-made Graham cracker pie crust
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream**
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened flake coconut, toasted, for garnish

For Caramel Sauce:
In a medium sauce pot combine sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and lemon juice. Heat over medium-high heat. When sugar turns amber in color, carefully and slowly whisk in the coconut milk. Pour caramel into a bowl that is placed in an ice bath to cool or transfer sauce to a bowl and place in refrigerator.

For Pie:
In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup of coconut milk, milk and pudding mix. Pour in enough caramel sauce, about 1/4 cup, to coat the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the filling into the crust on top of the caramel.

In another large mixing bowl that has been chilled. Whip the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form, be careful not to over beat.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie and refrigerate for 1 hour or until completely set. Once the pie is set, sprinkle with toasted coconut and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce.

**Note-I'm always too lazy to make my own whipped cream and while I know it would taste better I am fine with the store bought whipped topping.

**Note-This pie is simply fabulous! It is probably one of the best desserts I've ever made!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Breakfast Cookies

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food (or sub in any other pureed, mild veggie like squash or pumpkin)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped

Oven at 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

**Note-These cookies are so tasty! I also love that you have a quick breakfast to go. These cookies freeze well and can be defrosted quickly in the microwave.