Salad Spree Round-Up

Woo Hoo! Spring is here and everybody is eating salad again. As I was pulling up an old salad recipe from my blog, I realized that with so many of you new to the Lean.Green.Kitchen site, you may not have seen all the salad recipes posted a year ago. So I’ve gone ahead and linked them all up into this Salad Spree Round-Up. May they give us ideas now that the days are getting warmer!

Mexican Caesar Salad Mexican Caesar Salad recipe

Spring Pearl Couscous Spring Pearl Couscous Salad recipe

Beet Orange Stack-Ups Beet Orange Salad recipe

The Simplest Salad The Simplest Salad recipe

Confetti Pasta Salad Confetti Pasta Salad recipe

Cherry Chicken Curry Salad Chicken Curry Salad recipe

Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad Red White and Blue Quinoa Salad recipe

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint recipe Do you have a favorite??

Looking forward to posting some more salad recipes soon!

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Beef Stock

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Here is the big finale for our three-week make your own stock series. We have made our own chicken stock (or maybe you used turkey), veggie stock, and now this week we tackle making beef stock. This one is a few additional steps, but I assure you the rewards are worth it in the end. Let’s top off those freezers with stock for all our culinary feats this winter. Having a quality stock is the foundation of beautiful meals and a lifesaver on busy, lazy days when real food is a must.

There are three challenges to making your own beef stock that we must conquer. If you can figure these three things out, you are golden — the rest is gravy (good gravy if you use your beautiful beef stock).

1. You need to source high quality beef bones. For me that means local, grass-fed cows. These cost more for a reason. And all the reasons that count. Better for your health, for the flavor, for the environment, for the cow’s living conditions, and for your local community. So do some research, go to farmers markets, talk with other foodies, ask questions of the person behind the meat counter at the natural foods co-ops, find a butcher. Do what it takes to buy good bones and feel gratitude that they will nourish you and your family for months.

2. You need to be near your stove-top off and on, but mostly on for one to three days. You are going to be simmering this stock for days. One day is the barest of minimum, three is ideal (I never make it to three, but some day…), two works great. I turn my pot off when I go to bed and turn it back on as soon as I get up. I turn the pot off to run short errands or whatever, but mostly I’m at home going about my business while my pot is working away for two days.

3. You need a big pot. You want to get a lot of stock out of these bones that you worked so hard to find. Plus, the bones themselves take up a lot of room, so a small pot won’t have space for the water.

*** If number 2 and 3 seem impossible, you can make this in small batches in a crock pot. Using less bones, fill up the crock pot with the same stuff, fill with water and leave on low for 24 hours. You’ll have to go through the process again at some point when you run out of stock, but it may beat staying home for a weekend or getting your hands on a huge pot! ***

Why do all this?

Beef stock is a powerfully healing substance. It is filled with minerals and amino acids ready for absorption. It contains ample gelatin, ready to heal your gut and your joints. Bone broth has been shown to aid digestion and build immunity. Many real fooders consume bone broth every day as a tonic. You can read more about all that’s in there from this post from Mark’s Daily Apple.

Beef stock provides a beautiful flavor, richness, and color to soups, stews and sauces.

It is worth it! The stuff in the box/can DOES NOT COMPARE. Homemade quality stock is considered by many to be a SUPERFOOD. Boxed and canned stock, not so much. This is the easiest way to bring nutrients into everything you prepare. So let’s get started. 

SIMPLE BEEF STOCK

Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold enough liquid to get the most out of your efforts. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Roasting Pan/Tongs
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker

Ingredients:

  • 4-8lbs of beef bones (a combination of marrow, knuckle, neck and rib bones is the best option, but work with what you can get!)
  • 3 Organic Carrots – Chopped up chunky
  • 3 Organic Onions – Peeled and chopped in quarters
  • 6 Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme and/or Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water
  • Optional: Any other veggie bits or scraps you may have around. This is a great way to purge those veggie drawers!

Instructions:

  1. Place any of your bones that have meat bits on them in the roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees for about an hour. Meanwhile, place the bones without meat bits in the pot with the vinegar and pour in the water until the bones are covered. Let the pot just sit on the counter for the hour the other bones are roasting.
  2. Take the meaty bones out of the roasting pan and place them in the pot. Add vegetables and add the rest of the cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Using a spoon, skim off any impurities or “foam” that has developed on the top and discard.
  4. Add peppercorns and herbs.
  5. Simmer that pot for 12-72 hours. You can add more water every once in a while if you feel it is getting too low. (Less water, more concentrated stock)
  6. I turn the stove off when I go to bed late at night for my own peace of mind (leaving the big pot on the stove top) and then turn it back on early in the morning. I also turn it off when I leave the house during the day for safety.
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator to cool completely. When cooled, your stock may be thick and gelatinous. That is a GREAT sign! It means you used bones with lots of gelatin and pulled it all out of them. Sometimes mine is gelatinous and sometimes it isn’t.
  9. The next day: Once your stock is completely cooled, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. If you leave that in your stock, it will be rather greasy. I highly recommend taking it off the stock and rendering it down to clean tallow to use as a fantastic cooking fat! [Place fat in crock pot on low until it is all liquid, then strain through cheesecloth into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. Amazing for frying up tortillas for Taco Tuesdays!]
  10. Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: BEEF STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  11. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of beef stock per gallon Ziplock.
  12. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  13. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.

Notes:

  • This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is one of my favorite resources for my real food journey.
  • There is no salt added to this stock, so you must add it on your own when using the stock. Most recipes will assume your stock is very salty (because the box/can has a lot of extra sodium in it), so be sure to taste and adjust and probably add more salt to your dishes than you are used to if you haven’t made your own before.
  • If you don’t have much freezer space for your stock, I recommend simmering your stock on the longer side of the range and not adding additional water as it evaporates. You are basically making it more concentrated and then can add water to it once you defrost it prior to using. You might want to freeze it in smaller amounts since you won’t need as much. You can also simmer some of it down further after straining to concentrate some of it for sauces. Just be sure to label everything so you know what you have later!
  • I know of many people who, in an effort to get the most out of their beef bones, make  stock a second time using the same bones. If you have the time, energy and freezer space you should go for it!

photo 1  Finished product… over 10 quarts of beautiful stock!

tallow  Plus a little jar of beautiful tallow as a bonus!

 

So that’s a wrap with the Stock Series! Hope you use these recipes in your kitchen to warm and nourish your family this winter season. This, my friends, is the true foundation of real food. May you build real (good) food from here…

 

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at HolisticSquid.com!

Read more: http://holisticsquid.com/party-wave-wednesday-121113/#ixzz2nHVO7fWs

Turkey Soup Recipe Round-Up (and I’ve coined Turkey Stock Saturday – catchy right?)

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After Thanksgiving and Black Friday, how about Turkey Stock Saturday?

Your Mission should you choose to accept it: No Turkey Carcass Left Behind

As we finish up our pie and head towards our sweatpants on Thursday evening, let’s remember at least two things:

  1. Gratitude x 1,000.
  2. To put the turkey carcass in the refrigerator.

Then sometime over the weekend (I’m claiming Turkey Stock Saturday because it has a nice ring), throw those bones in a big pot with a bunch of water and simmer for 3-4 hours. For details, check out the Chicken Stock recipe and just sub the turkey for the chicken.

So then what? I’ve pulled together a round-up of eleven soup recipes I’m thinking about making with my stock for an easy weekend meal (with holiday music officially ON!)

TURKEY STOCK SATURDAY – SOUP ROUND UP!

Guess what, I pinned them all on Pinterest for you. Happy Turkey Stock Saturday, you can find them all at: Lean.Green.Kitchen on Pinterest

1. Gracious Pantry – Leftover Turkey Soup (obviously sub your turkey stock for the chicken stock on all of these recipes)

2. Recipe Girl – Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup (please don’t use vegetable oil or low-fat milk, sub butter or coconut oil and full fat dairy)

3. Liv Life – Garlicky Tortellini Turkey Soup (garlic is for winners)

4. My Kitchen Snippet – Wild Rice Turkey Soup (comfort food)

5. Taste of Home – Curried Turkey Soup (intrigued by the tart apple in this recipe)

6. Kitchen Concoctions – Spicy Tomato and Turkey Soup (who likes it spicy??)

7. Our Northern Homestead – Lemon Turkey Soup (sounds fresh! I’ve got lemons from a friend’s tree!!)

8. Batter Splattered – Turkey Chowder with Pancetta and Crimini (gorgeous)

9. My Crazy Deliciousness – Crock Pot Turkey Chili (without beans)

10. The Picky Palate – Hearty Ground Turkey Chili (with beans)

11. 100 Days of Real Food – Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (just sub turkey for the chicken)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend everyone! I am truly grateful for your support and readership this week and always. I’m checking out of the blog-o-sphere to go spend some quality time with my peeps. See you in December!

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Chicken Stock

Stock Pot

Today is the first of three weekly tip posts regarding making your own stock. Today we’ll cover chicken, to be followed by veggie stock and finally beef stock.

Let us start with some culinary terminology to get everyone on the same page – broth and stock. Most of us hear them and use them interchangeably, which is totally fine by me. But culinary experts all have their own definitions and the differences seem to fall into one of these two camps: Camp One: Stock is made with bones (usually roasted prior to stock-making), and broth is made with meat. Camp Two: Stock is the liquid before salt and seasonings are added (think of it as a foundation for something like a soup or a sauce) and broth is seasoned and can be enjoyed as is. So pick which camp you’d like to be in and use the correct definition as make sense for your life! Around here I just call them all stock until I’ll finished them and served them to people. Then I say, “come enjoy this steaming hot bowl of brothy goodness, my little sick chickadee.” Or something like that.

Making your own stock is:

  1. Really, really, REALLY easy.
  2. Much higher quality than you can buy in the store.
  3. Much cheaper than buying it in a store.
  4. Delicious and is packed with nutrients!

I am often asked what I always have available for last-minute meals, and ziplock bags of frozen stock in my freezer would be on the top of my list. I can defrost it and have a soup ready to eat in less than an hour. I can use it to add nutrients to quinoa, rice or couscous by substituting it for the water during cooking. I can throw it in the crock pot (sometimes still frozen!!) with a bunch of stuff and come home to dinner ready five hours later. I can defrost some for my family when they are under the weather and be confident that they are taking in high quality nutrients and not a lot of man-made chemicals found in canned or boxed brothy soups.

SIMPLE CHICKEN STOCK
Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold much liquid after putting a whole chicken in it. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker

Ingredients:

  • Whole Uncooked Organic Chicken OR an Organic Roasted Chicken with the meat mostly removed (and enjoyed some other way).
  • 1 Big Organic Carrot – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Onion – Peeled and chopped in half
  • 2-4 Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Leek (optional) – Sliced in half
  • 5-10 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 2-3t Sea Salt
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme or Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water

Instructions:

  1. Put the chicken in the pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Using the ladle, skim the foaming impurities off the top of the stock and throw away.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 3-5 hours.
  5. Turn the heat off and leave in the pot to cool slightly.
  6. Take out the chicken and place in a large casserole dish to cool. Then pick all the chicken meat off the bones and store in the refrigerator for all your shredded chicken needs. (Chicken soup, chicken salad, chicken pizza, chicken enchiladas, etc.)
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator.
  9. Sometime in the next few days, discard the layer of fat that has hardened on the surface of the stock. (I like to keep a little of it in the stock for flavor, but not so much that it will be oily.)
  10. Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: CHICKEN STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  11. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of chicken stock per gallon Ziplock.
  12. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  13. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.

Stock Container  This is what I store mine in to cool completely in the refrigerator. I made about seven quarts with this batch, and used a bunch right away and kept a quart in a mason jar in the refrigerator (for my sick chickadee).

Bagged Stock  You can store stock in freezer safe mason jars, but I don’t have the space or the comfort with that much glass in my freezer, so this option works better for me.

That’s all there is to it! I spend over $3.50 a quart on organic chicken stock from the store. This recipe makes 6-8 quarts ($21-28 worth) and cost me less than $15 to make. I buy my whole organic chickens from Costco, usually they cost about $12-13 each. In addition to the stock, I have several cups of shredded meat I use all week long in different quick meals.

Hope this takes some of the mystery out of chicken stock. Try it once to see if it is for you and your real food adventures! Your soup has never tasted so good, as with a beautiful foundation of nutrient-rich homemade stock.

Ready to turn this stock into some Brothy Goodness? Check out this post for the easiest soup ever that I load my family up on when we are fighting classroom plagues. It has super powers if you use your homemade stock as the base. :)

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Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

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Here it is. The soup you make when you are under the weather or heading that way. Or when you need simplicity, comfort and nutrients pronto. This recipe is SUPER easy if you already have your chicken stock on hand in the freezer ready to go. Check out the post on Making Your Own Chicken Stock to get started – it is also SUPER easy, but does take a few hours to simmer.

Around our house, we call this one: Simple Brothy Goodness

Recipe: Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

Ingredients

  • 1 Quart Organic Chicken Stock – homemade preferred (RECIPE)
  • 2-3 Big Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 Cup Shredded Organic Chicken (leftovers from stock making work great here!)
  • High Quality Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Optional: Thinly Sliced Ginger, Cooked Spinach and Cheese Ravioli, Cooked Rice (brown or rice)

Toppers

  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley, Cilantro, Green Onions or Chives (whichever sounds best)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1. Warm stock in a saucepan on the stove top at medium heat.
  2. Add in spinach, chicken and the optional ginger, ravioli, or rice if using.
  3. Simmer for five minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chicken Soup usually takes a decent amount of salt to make it really sparkle. Do a little at a time until it is just as you like it.
  5. Add toppers and enjoy!

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 6 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2-4

Soup with rav Adding in the ravioli make this soup a big favorite with my daughter. She slurps the whole bowl right on up and asks for more. My son loves the ginger slices. Mix it up and make it your own Simple Brothy Goodness!

Crock Pot Taco Soup

crock pot taco soup

Crock Pot Taco Soup is such an easy healthy dinner!

Sometimes I wonder about my relationship with my Crock Pot. Is it strange that I think about it first thing in the morning and last thing at night? That if someone asked me how I kept my sanity this soccer season I would shout out “my Crock Pot” as the number one reason? That having it making dinner-y goodness over there on my counter-top makes me smile as I walk through my (very rare) clean kitchen on my way to get other things done all day long?

For Real Fooders, I can’t think of a bigger work horse than the Crock Pot. So let’s put it to use with my latest go-to soup. Cool thing is that this one is Paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegetarian and vegan with just a few easy swaps. And it is always nutrient-rich!

Recipe: Crock Pot Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 qt high quality broth (beef, chicken or veggie)
  • 1 lb high quality ground beef (or about 2 cups of cooked beans like black, pinto or kidney)
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • Small dab of butter, tallow or coconut oil
  • 14 oz of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 jalapeño, minced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 2 celery sticks, small diced
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, chopped small (I often use frozen)
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 can (drained) black olives (optional)
  • 3 T taco seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • Any other veggies that sound good, chopped small (zucchini, winter squash, bell peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.)

Toppings (pick your favorites):

  • Cilantro, green onions, cheese, corn chips, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), avocado

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients into Crock Pot EXCEPT ground beef, onion and 2 Tablespoons of the Taco Seasoning.
  2. Sauté chopped onion in a dab of butter, tallow, or coconut oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and sprinkle Taco Seasoning over the meat.
  4. Mix onion, meat and seasoning over medium heat until the meat is cooked through.
  5. Drain meat if it is really fatty, and dump the mixture into the Crock Pot.
  6. Vegetarians: Sauté the onion with the Taco Seasoning for a richer flavor, but just add the beans straight in the pot (drain out liquid if using canned beans).
  7. Omnivores: I often use meat AND beans in this soup.
  8. Crock Pot on high for 4 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours.
  9. Before serving, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. Depending on the broth you are using, sometimes some extra salt is needed to make it sparkle!
  10. Serve with the toppings of your choice.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 4 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

TACO SEASONING: A few words about Taco Seasoning. Now here is a spice packet you do not need to buy – just make your own. Not only will you avoid whatever fillers and preservatives they put in there, but over time you can play with the amounts of different spices in your blend making it exactly what your taste buds desire! Here is a standard recipe to get you started.

Recipe: Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes (this is the heat, so add a little extra if you like it spicy)

Instructions

  1. Mix all together.
  2. Make double or triple batches and store in an old spice container or small mason jar.

crock pot taco soup

Crock Pots of the world, unite!!

Looking for more Crock Pot recipes? This Crock Pot Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. Enjoy!

Photo Notes: FYI that the Crock Pot Taco Soup in these photos doesn’t have ground beef in it or beans. My family has eaten so much Taco Soup over the past couple of weeks, that I changed it up and used a beef soup shank in this batch. I also omitted the corn and the optional olives, and cut my veggies chunkier (including fresh acorn squash) for it to taste more like a stew than a soup. Have fun with your food and make it your own!

Recipe: Weeknight Rescue Frittata

Frittata

I was asked a GREAT question the other day… what do you eat for dinner when you have no plans and little time? I like this question so much I think I’ll just keep answering it with different recipes over the next few months. Because as much as I love a good meal plan, sometimes life gets in the way and it’s on to Plan B.

Plan B works for us because there are some things we pretty much always have around and today’s recipe utilizes them front and center. This kitchen always has eggs, cheese, and random veggies and herbs (usually several days past their prime). Throw that together and -voila- thirty minutes later we’ve got a beautiful frittata and a cleaner refrigerator!

Recipe: Weeknight Rescue Frittata

Ingredients

  • 6 Eggs (highest quality you can manage)
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Organic Milk (optional, but use an extra egg if you are leaving it out)
  • 1T Organic Butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped small
  • 1 Cup of Dark Leafy Green, chopped small
  • 1-2 Cups of Veggies, chopped small
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of a Fresh Herb, chopped small (if you don’t have a fresh herb, then toss 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in with the onion)
  • 1/2 Cup of chopped Bacon or Sausage or Leftover Cooked Meat (totally and completely optional)
  • 1/3 Cup of Any Kind of Cheese (use more or less due to personal preference)
  • 1/2t Salt
  • 1/2t Pepper
  • 1 Chopped Tomato, Green Onion and/or Avocado for a topper

Optional:

  • Can of green chilies
  • Can of sliced olives
  • Can of artichoke hearts (chop them up good)
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs with the milk and salt and pepper. If using any of the “optional” ingredients, add them into this egg mixture. Set aside.
  2. If using bacon or sausage, sauté it up in a medium-sized skillet until it begins to brown up (over medium to medium-high heat). Cast iron works best here. The skillet must be able to go under the broiler at the end.
  3. If you have a lot of extra grease in the pan, drain most (not all) of it out.
  4. Add in the onion. If you are not using bacon or sausage, then melt a little butter in the skillet to saute the onion.
  5. Once the onion begins softening, add in veggie ingredients that need a sauté such as greens, bell peppers, asparagus, garlic, broccoli, etc.
  6. Once all veggie and meat ingredients are softened to your liking, take a moment to lightly butter the edges of the skillet and any spots on the bottom that seem dry. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP or your frittata will stick.
  7. Adjust the heat to medium and pour the egg mixture over the vegetable/meat mixture. You may need to slightly turn the skillet to use gravity to move the mixture over all areas of the pan.
  8. While the eggs are slowly cooking, sprinkle the fresh herbs all over the top. Then sprinkle the cheese.
  9. After a minute or two when the sides just start to look set, transfer the skillet to a low broiler for a few minutes.
  10. Keep your eye on it, and pull it out when the edges begin to brown and the center is set and not runny.
  11. Top with chopped tomato, avocado or green onions.
  12. Can be served warm or room temperature.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

This one is more like an art project than a science experiment. Use what you have and play around with it. You can also make this the night before and refrigerate it, if you know tomorrow is going to be crazy. Just warm it up in an 250 degree oven until it comes to room temperature and serve.

Serve with fresh fruit and maybe a little flavored yogurt with granola? If you have an extra few minutes, a side of country potatoes works beautifully with this frittata. Now you are having breakfast for dinner which is always a crowd pleaser!

What’s your “go to” dinner when you have little time and no plan? This recipe has a lot of room for interpretation. If you have a question about a specific ingredient or when it would go in the mix, just comment below and I’ll give you my opinion!

Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo Recipe

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This powerhouse soup is hearty and able to fill up hungry family members who have been playing and working all day in the summer sun. This easy gumbo recipe is a lighter, fresher, cleaner version of traditional gumbos, and it is shellfish free, as I made it for my dad who is highly allergic. We served it with a beautiful loaf of pugliese bread and talked about how it would hold up nicely in a bread bowl. Whether as a soup starter or a main dish, your body will thank you for the nutrients!

Recipe: Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Onion (chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Carrot (chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Celery (chopped small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1T Butter or EVOO (or a combo of both)
  • 2 Italian Chicken Sausages (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds) – I use Applegate Organics Sweet Italian (you could delete altogether for vegetarians or use Shrimp or Cubed Chicken)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock (can easily sub with Vegetable Stock)
  • 28oz crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 1/2t dried Oregano
  • 1 1/2t dried Thyme
  • 1/2t Sea Salt
  • 1/2t Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 cups chopped Kale (frozen is great!)
  • 2 cups Corn (frozen is great!)
  • 2 cups sliced Okra (frozen is great!)

Instructions

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, in a large pot heat butter/oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and cook until everything softens.
  4. Add sausage rounds and cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, sea salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add kale, corn and okra.
  7. Continue simmering until rice is finished and add rice.
  8. Add two cups of water if gumbo is too thick.
  9. Simmer for 15 minutes and check spices. Adjust as necessary.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

This recipe is heavily adapted from Clean Eating magazine (Chicken Gumbo, June 2012).

Perhaps enjoy this on a back porch with some iced tea!?

Salad Spree: Cherry Chicken Curry Salad

Chicken Curry Salad

It’s our final week of May’s Salad Spree! But not to worry, I love salads and won’t be able to contain myself from posting salad recipes throughout the summer.

This week’s salad is for my chicken loving friends. It brings together the beautiful flavors of dried cherries and curry and uses gut friendly Greek yogurt instead of the commonly used mayo. I highly recommend using organic chicken (this is an excellent use for leftover meat after roasting a whole chicken.) Enjoy it on lightly toasted whole grain bread or over a bed of greens with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Recipe: Cherry Chicken Curry Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Organic Chicken (cooked, cubed or shredded)
  • 2T Red Onion (minced)
  • 1 Green Onion (green parts chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cherries (rough chop)
  • 2 stalks Celery (chopped small)
  • Handful of Spinach (chopped tiny)
  • 2T Parsley (chopped tiny)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Greek Yogurt
  • 1t Curry Powder
  • 1t Dijon Mustard
  • 1t Sea Salt
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • A few cranks of Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix first six ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a little bowl mix the yogurt, curry powder, Dijon mustard, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the yogurt mixture in with the chicken mixture.
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture.
  5. Crank the black pepper over the top to taste.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Did you enjoy our Salad Spree? Which salads did you try? I’d love to hear all about it!

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana

Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Recipe

The secret of the crock pot is that you can basically throw stuff in it, add some spices and herbs, pour some liquid over the top, then leave. And dinner will ready for you in 4-8 hours.  I like to layer the ingredients of this Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana recipe into the crock pot so I can feel like I’m actually doing something culinaryish, but it’s not even necessary.

Here is a recipe adapted from a recipe I created for a paleo slow cooker competition last fall called Paleo Chicken and Eggplant No Parmigiana.  It was selected to be in the Fast Paleo Top 100 of 2012 – my first “publishing!” I’ve added some potatoes, leeks and spring peas, mostly because they are seasonal and I think the recipe can handle additional veggies. This is a great meal to showcase your family’s favorite marinara sauce.  I like to make a large batch and have spaghetti one night and use the rest up in this crock pot recipe.  If that’s just not happening, there are some great clean options for marinara sauce in the health food aisle of most grocery stores.  Look for sauces that have low sugar and salt, and ingredients you would use in your own kitchen – no strange chemicals!  Throw it all in and get on with your busy life.  Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs organic chicken (boneless breasts and/or thighs)
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 2 cups spicy marinara sauce (or your family favorite marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water
  • 4 small potatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup spring peas
  • 1 small leek, cleaned well and sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 cup mozzarella (optional)

PESTO

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • three handfuls of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in crock pot (chicken and potatoes on the bottom and veggies on top).
  2. Pour stock and marinara sauce over the top.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. During final 30 minutes in the crock pot, add mozzarella on top if desired.
  5. Right before serving blend olive oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper to a pesto consistency (include shredded parmesan cheese if using).
  6. Place a dollop of pesto on each serving.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 4-8 hours

Number of servings (yield): 6

Chicken Eggplant Parm 2

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