Monday, October 31, 2011

Veggie Noodle Soup

A Meatless Monday soup for a cold day.
From my meal plans, you can tell that I try to have a meatless meal a week. My husband is a big meat eater, so just one day a week helps us out in many different ways. I like the challenge of finding new meatless meals (slacking lately) that don't have "fake meats" in them. I am always trying to make meatless meals that are packed with veggies. This veggie noodle soup is just that, a meatless meal with tons of veggies and other real ingredients. The noodles help to add some feeling to make it a bit more than just veggies in broth. It can also be meatless replacement for my Sausage and Tortellini Soup. 

Veggie Noodle Soup
Adapted from ButterflyFood 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cans (14oz) of diced tomatoes
4 cups (2 cans) vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups (dry) of pasta (your choice)
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, basil and salt and pepper and cook until just soft. Add the tomatoes and let warm for a couple of minutes. Add water and broth, bring just to a boil then turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pasta, zucchini, and bell pepper and cook for another 8-10 min or until all tender. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spiced Chai Concentrate

Nothing says Fall, like a hot Chai Latte! 
The one thing that I love in the fall is a Chai Latte. Milk and chai tea. The best chai lattes are made from a concentrate. I often make chai lattes at home because for the cost for the cost of one at a coffee shop, you can get a box of concentrate. However I made this concentrate, and like it better than the boxed store bought. It has a great spice to it and a lot of flavor. A bonus is it has less sugar.

Spiced Chai Concentrate
Slight change from A Wooden Nest
4 1/2 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
7 whole cardamom pods
2 whole star anise pods
10 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange zest
10 bags of black tea (like English Breakfast)
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon vanilla

Add the spices in a big pot, add the water. Bring the water to a boil, and remove from heat. Add all the tea bags, and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or large bowl, discarding the spices and tea bags. Add the sugar, honey and the vanilla, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

To serve, mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part milk (like 1/2 a cup concentrate and 1/2 cup milk). Heat for a warm beverage, if over the stove use a whisk to "froth" the milk, or in the microwave. Just pour over ice for a cold Chai Latte. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Short Week Meal Plan

This week I am checking out after Thursday. So this will be a short Monday Meal Plan. I am always thankful for weeks are short. This week for dinner will also be using up junk in the fridge.

Meatless Monday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes and fruit
Tuesday: Carne Asada and corn on the cob
Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas, refried beans
Thursday: Leftovers, what ever can be found in the fridge

Next Monday is Halloween! My little woof has his face on a pumpkin to celebrate. I will be sharing a Meatless Monday soup next week, so be ready for it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicken, Broccoli and Biscuits

A reminder of a cold weather birthday, with a hot meal.
On birthdays, my mom would let us request what meal we wanted for dinner. The meal I almost always picked was Chicken, Broccoli and Biscuits. It was my favorite meal. Having a birthday when the weather was cold was also great for this meal, since it is so warm and comforting plus cooking in the oven heats up the whole house. This year I will be having turkey on my birthday, so I had to have my old stand by before it arrives.

Chicken, Broccoli, and Biscuits
1 pound chicken legs and/or thighs
1/2 cup flour
1 pound broccoli florets
1 package refrigerated biscuits
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 can of milk
View full recipePreheat oven at 350 degrees F.
Slightly cover chicken (skin or no skin, your preference) with flour. Put into a 9“ by 13” pan and bake until chicken is just about finished, juices are almost clear.
While chicken is baking, stream broccoli to just tender.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cream of soup and milk. Move chicken to one side of pan, put broccoli next to it (1/3 of pan). Cover chicken, broccoli and the remaining of empty pan with the soup/milk mixture. Put the biscuits on top of the soup mixture in the remaining 1/3 of pan.
Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, around 15 minutes or according to package direction.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Stop on the Fruit Highway: Pettingill's

I am a bit late in the season, but I wanted to share a stop I have been making this summer.
Not far north of Ogden on Highway 89, is a local fruit stand- Pettingill's Fruit Farm. It is the first fruit stand on the "Fruit Highway". The orchards surround the stand and you can often see farm hands out picking the peaches, apples, or plums. Must of the time there is a trailer completely full with bushels for you to pick from. From now until the end of their season (Halloween) you can pick from pumpkins, apples, and probably a few other items.

I mostly pick up fruit from Pettingill's even though they also have some veggies. I got a half flat of raspberries early in the season. I ate as many as I froze. Also their peaches and apples taste like you are eating them straight from the tree. Most people have bushels of fruit in the carts, however by the pound is also available. One thing that I pretty sure on due to the quality of their fruit is that they spray the fruit. That would mean that although local, there is a lack of organic.
There are also some fruits like limes and lemons that you can pick up there, just note they are not from the orchards next to the stand.

Parking can be a bit tight at Pettingill's because it truly is right off the road. It can be tricky to also get back on the road. However there is usually at least 1 spot you can find.

Pettingill's also has a Shake Shop within the stand. It is currently closed for the season, but during its time provides multiple fresh favors of shakes and tables to enjoy them at. They use Farr's Ice Cream as the base. I haven't even eaten a shake, but envied those eating them on my mid-day stops. The Shake Shop is something unique to Pettingill's. I believe I remember seeing hot dogs on the menu when it was open.
Not only is there farm fresh fruit, but you can find local Utah honey. This honey can be found in many favors and sizes. Also Pettingill's has their own section of canned items. I can't tell you what exactly you will find there but I am sure it is some good stuff.

You can find Pettingill's Fruit Farm at 8815 S Hwy 89, Willard, UT. If you would like to know what will be in season when you visit, Like them on Facebook. Visit Pettingill's until Halloween this 2011 season. 

(Note on photos: used my iPhone and I didn't ask staff for permission:). )  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Fall Meal Plan

This weekend was a fall weekend for me! We went apple picking and to a side of the road pumpkin patch. Eating apples right off the trees is something that I really enjoy, even on a 70 degree day that doesn't always feel like fall. Across the road was an honor system pumpkin patch, where you could pick your pumpkin off the vine and put the money in a box. I selected 2 pumpkins to carve.
Sometimes skipping Halloween for a vacation has it benefits, like not having to buy candy or costumes plus think about Halloween parties. The parts I miss are carving pumpkins and eating the treats. Anyway around it, I still got my pumpkin this year, I may carve it or not. At least I don't miss out on the fall activities just because I will be skipping Halloween.

Hopefully there will be some apple treats soon, but for now I still have this week for dinner, will my  Monday Meal Plan.
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie (repeat from last week)
Tuesday: Beef stir fry (bell pepper, zucchini, green onions, anything else left in fridge)
Wednesday: Chicken Lime Tacos with a side of refired beans
Meatless Thursday: Veggie Soup
Friday: Pork in some sort
Saturday: Out to eat
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Peanut butter that doesn't stick on roof of the mouth.
One of the funniest things is watching a dog that has peanut butter on the roof of its mouth. Now Hayden is much to danty of a dog for that too happen too. He drinks water from the corner of the bowl, so he doesn't slop it all over when finished. He savors the licks of peanut butter of the beaters when I made these treats. (Gross yes, dishwasher after) Even though Hayden prances, he is still a rough and tumble dog. He loves to chase ANYTHING that runs from him, you know-rabbits, birds, lizards (in AZ), cows, deer, and even a moose. So these treats are good for dogs in your purse or the dogs in the field.

Peanut Butter Doggie Treats
2 cups whole wheat flour                            
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (Chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk (doesn't matter the %)
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons peanuts, smashed (if using smooth pb and want a bit of a crunch)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, milk, and honey until well combined. Add in peanuts if using. Add in flour and baking powder, mix well.
Lightly flour a surface, place dough down on it and knead.
Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter (doesn't always have to be a dog bone) to cut out shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet-or with a slip-mat, or parchment paper. They don't spread, so it is okay t place them close together but give them a bit of breathing space.
Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool completely on a rack before giving to woofer, or storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sausage & Tortellini Soup Recipe

Chicken Lips and  Lizard Hips
When we have family events, my aunt will often make this Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It fills you up, warms your bones, and can feed a crowd. I emailed to ask for the recipe I received this response.
"Oh, when I was a little kid I never liked to eat, Mama'd put things on my plate, I'd dump them on her feet, But then one day she made this soup, I ate it all in bed, I asked her what she put in it, and this is want she said.
Chicken lips and lizard hips and alligator eyes, Monkey legs and buzzard eggs and salamander thighs,
Rabbit ears and camel rears and tasty toe-nail pies, Stir them all together, it's Mama's Soup Surprise."

My family is so clever. 

Sausage & Tortellini Soup
Adapted from my Aunt April, originally from a unknown cookbook
1 pound Italian Sausage (hot or mild)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery 
6 cups (3 cans) beef broth
2 cups (1 can) water
1/2 cup dry red wine or cooking wine
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
3 basil leaves, chopped (optional if have)
8 oz cheese tortellini (my aunt uses fresh, I use frozen-cheaper)
1 1/2 cups small zucchini, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
Parmesan cheese for serving bowls

Brown the sausage in a large stockpot. Remove and drain the grease except for 1 Tablespoon of drippings. Saute onions, garlic and celery in drippings until tender.
Add beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, basil, Italian seasoning, and sausage into pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Skim fat off the top of soup. Can't get it all, but getting the bigger bubbles is good.
Stir in zucchini, tortellini, and bell pepper. Simmer uncovered 30-40 minutes until tortellini and zucchini are tender. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Eat Each Night at Home Plan

Yesterday and this morning I have been canning tomatoes. It is my first time to ever can anything and and I feel like I am getting the hang of it now that my 4th batch of jars in the pot finishing up. I used directions from Food In Jars and Pick Your Own. It was a pretty simple process, even with my ghetto set up, because I didn't have exactly what I needed. However my jars are sealed tight and ready to feed us all winter long.

Even though I don't know if my canning of tomatoes will save us any money, or if it was simply one thing I wanted to try (being so popular here in Utah). I do know that eating at home saves us a bit of money. So I need to keep on top of the meal plan for this week and get in the kitchen and cook the meals.

Here is my  Monday Meal Plan so we have this week for dinner, and put the bit of extra we save in the pocket. 
Meatless Monday: Broccoli Cheddar soup with sourdough bread (I can't get enough of this soup!)
Tuesday: Sausage and tortellini soup (yep 2 nights of soup)
Wednesday: Grilled chicken sandwich topped with tomatoes (from last week)
Thursday: Mongolian beef with zucchini and rice
Friday: Chicken pot pie
Saturday:  Pulled pork sandwiches with green beans and mashed potatoes
Sunday: Southwest chicken with corn on the cob

Monday, October 3, 2011

First October Meal Plan

I am a bit late with this Monday Meal Plan but we are still going to need something his week for dinner, so here it is.
Monday: Leftovers, leftovers
Tuesday: Grilled chicken sandwiches topped with tomatoes and pasta salad
Wednesday: Burgers with corn on the cob
Thursday: Sesame ginger chicken with rice and zucchini
Meatless Friday: Smoky black bean and rice stoup
Saturday: Football Fiesta! Chicken tortilla soup, quesadillas, chips and salsa.
Sunday: Out to eat before another week