25 January, 2011

Meaty "Not-sagna"

So, Rachel Ray claimed that her "Not-sagna" takes less time to prepare than regular lasagna... um, not really.
But, it was just as good!

Grass-fed ground beef, fresh onions, fresh basil, Organic spaghetti, with some ricotta... It was pretty good!
Only thing I forgot was the french bread. And, I'm a little annoyed that making your own tomato sauce (for pizza or pasta) always makes it come out pretty runny. All the recipes online tell you to add a can of tomato paste, which kind of voids the whole "homemade" thing.

Hubby ranked this at a 6 out of 10, and said last night's meal was an 8/10.

When he told me what he thinks is closer to a 10, I was a little surprised. He likes the simple throw together stuff. So, soon enough, I'll be doing some REAL "30 minute meals."

In other news, check out this insanely huge head of cauliflower the hubby found at our local grocery store:

Speaking of food, anyone else seen the news on Taco Bell's latest lawsuit?

24 January, 2011

Black Pepper & Coriander-Crusted Tuna with Orange and Fennel-Roasted Potato Salad

This is a definite keeper! I think I overcooked the tuna steaks a little- I was unaware that tuna could be cooked like beef. I figured if there was any pink in fish, it was not a good thing. But I suppose when the recipe gave varying cook times for medium and rare, I should have caught on.

The Orange & Fennel-Roasted Potato Salad was not made according to recipe... I had no idea you could buy whole fennel bulbs, and had no clue where to look for them.
The original recipe for the salad called for 2lbs roasted potatoes mixed with 1quartered & thinly sliced fennel bulb, 1/2 small red onion, 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard and the zest and juice of one small orange.

My recipe (due to not reading the recipe carefully before heading to the store/market) was edited slightly:
In place of Dijon mustard, I used 1 Tbsp yellow mustard, 1 tsp Tabasco, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 clove sauted minced garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, salt, pepper
and I forgot the onion and fennel bulb, but instead used 1 Tbsp fennel seeds.

All in all, I think it was great, but it could have used a vegetable on the side. I'm thinking cauliflower and broccoli?

22 January, 2011

Menu for last week of January

So, apparently there is this cool thing called Pecan Oil that supposedly has less saturated fat than Virgin Olive Oil. The man at the Leon Springs Farmer's Market informed me that it has just as light a taste as Olive Oil. We shall see...

This week's buys, for a grand total of $59.50:
-4 Tuna Steaks, fresh from the fishermen in Port Aransas (1.85lbs)
-1 dozen free-range chicken eggs (I got a speckled egg in this dozen! That's lucky, right?)
-1lb red potatoes
-10 tomatoes
-16oz honey (that's right, I finished the other 17oz in 3 weeks... what can I say, I like tea and I have a sweet tooth!)
-10 oz Pecan Oil
-A yummy Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Berry Bar from The Green Brownie Company that did NOT survive the car ride home!

This week's Recipe plan:
1) Black Pepper & Coriander-Crusted Tuna with Orange and Fennel-Roasted Potato Salad
2)Lasagna (with ground beef- just the way the hubby likes it)

You may be wondering what I did with the ever-elusive turnips... Well, after trying one raw- and let me tell you I'm shocked to say it wasn't bad- I ended up using an onion, some red potatoes and broccoli that looked like it was on it's way out to make a soup, and threw the turnips in. Basically a "throw together soup"- it was great with rice.

The best thing about this New Year's Resolution? We only bring frozen dinners to work for lunch once or twice a week now. The leftovers from cooking so often are GREAT for lunches! I've also found that all this Farmer's Market shopping as created an aversion to cereal for breakfast every morning. So my hubby claims he is pleasantly surprised when he wakes up to find eggs or some other breakfast item awaiting him.

16 January, 2011

With the dreary weather outside, pizza was the perfect lunch!

So, my tomato sauce came out ORANGE! Apparently, when you don't use preservatives, red tomatoes don't stay red unless you cook them very slowly. But since I'm impatient, that didn't happen.

Used homemade sauce made from the tomatoes I bought at the FM yesterday, used 2 of the 4 whole wheat organic pizza crusts I got at the FM, and the spinach, too. Only thing that was on the pizza that was hard to tell what's in it was the Oscar Meyer turkey sausage we tossed in with the spinach.

Anyway, the pizza was great, and I'm counting it as Recipe #2!

15 January, 2011

Excuses, excuses. And a new FM visit!

I have been a horrible blogger. This week has been pretty smooth, but the most important part of this blog is the one element I have forgotten the last 3 recipes: photographic proof!
So, this week, we will start over at #2. A few extra recipes never hurt anyone, right? (Although, I can foresee myself on January 30th, coming back to this post and saying "Those 3 recipes count!!")

Decided to try out another Farmer's Market today. Leon Springs Farmers Market is further from my house, but their website indicated that they sold free-range chicken, which I could not find at Pearl FM last weekend.
For $72, I came away with:

  • 2lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 whole chickens (free-range, antibiotic/hormone free)
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 4 turnips
  • 8 small red potatoes
  • large bag of spinach
  • 5 oranges
  • 8oz of pecans
  • 4 whole grain, wood stove cooked pizza crusts

Everything, once again, comes from local hill-country areas (except the oranges, they, like my husband, are from the RG Valley)

I'll be the first to admit, $72 is pretty pricey. But cooking for the two of us will not use up all of these items in a week. The meats were the overkill, I've got one of the chickens in the Crockpot now to debone and freeze (and to get some yummy broth from). The ground beef is in the freezer for another time.
My biggest dilemma is how to cook the turnips. But I've been told, if you treat them like potatoes and mash them up, they can be pretty good and have a radish-like bite to them. We'll see how that goes over...

Recipes last week that were not recorded:

  • Roasted tomato soup with ham and mozzarella "sandwiches" on Portabellas
  • Crockpot Roast (with carrots, onions, grass-fed beef-- no celery, because I couldn't find it organic. Why is celery so important to be organic? It's at the top of the "Dirty Dozen" list, and it provides no nutritional value anyway.)

Options for this week:

  • Rachel Ray's Chicken with Scallion-Lime Sauce and Sweet Carrot Rice
  • Spinach-Sausage Pizza (homemade tomato sauce cooking right now!)
  • Something that goes well with mashed turnips as a side
  • Some kind of soup with the broccoli, potatoes and onions I still have sitting around (and the chicken broth being made as a by-product of the the Crockpot chicken??)
My Master's Program starts Wednesday, but we have Monday off and a half day Friday, so I don't see this affecting my cooking schedule anytime soon.


08 January, 2011

First Time at a Farmer's Market

Check out my finds at the Pearl Farmer's Market this morning! Everything offered there was from no more than 150 miles away from San Antonio, and most items offered were organic.
I was surprised to find produce I could actually use in recipes I already know by heart. It was a little pricey, and I did end up going to HEB afterwards to pick up a few other things that aren't sold there, which gave me a chance to double-check the price differences.

For $41.50, we got:

  • 16oz local honey ($7.50)- I've given up my afternoon sodas, and local honey in my tea is supposed to help relieve my allergy sufferings (Mountain Cedar Fever- yuck!)
  • 1 bunch of carrots ($3)
  • 2 Portabellas ($5)
  • about 16 tomatoes ($6)
  • And the prize of the day- 2lbs Grass Fed Beef from about 20 miles away ($16) Besides Sun Harvest and ONE HEB, I haven't found anywhere with grass-fed beef that aren't just T-bones.
  • Oh, and if you're doing the calculations, my husband may have gotten excited and bought a freshly made kolache or 2 while we were there
Because we spent less than $100 total on our weekly grocery bill, and due to the laid-back and non-snooty nature of the people with booths in the Farmer's Market, I think I am slowly getting the husband on board the Organic/Local boat. Honestly, it's not that much more expensive. Our local state-wide grocer, HEB, offered the vegetables for only $0.75 less. I think the trip alone was worth the extra $3-4 we probably spent.

I did forget to mention that while we were visiting family in the Rio Grande Valley, we picked up some nearly-always-in-season oranges (the in-laws have orange trees in their yard and it's all we can do to escape with less than 40 oranges the 4 or 5 times we visit between August and February). We also stopped at a fruit stand on the way back to San Antonio and picked up a bag of 8 sweet onions for $3 and a bag of tangerines for $2. All of the produce has been GREAT so far, and are keeping well.

So, you may be asking, what's on this week's menu? I won't lie, we've had some pre-made pizza dough sitting in the fridge awhile, so we'll probably use leftover mozzarella and slap some canned tomato sauce on it and see what we get one of these "I'm too tired to even get up and look for the remote" nights.

But here's the "good stuff":

  • Crockpot Roast: makes an awesome stew the second day and all I have to do is chop a few things up before I go to work. Ingredients: carrots, potatoes, onion, beef, beef broth, and usually a can of french onion soup, but I figure that if I pre-saute the onions and deglaze them with a little red wine, I could probably mimic dumping a can of Campbell's in there. And since canned foods are officially a no-no now (unless they are already in the cupboard), it'll have to do. Suggestions? Besides trying to cut down a french onion soup recipe to 8oz?
  • Grilled Tomato Soup with Ham and Mozzarella Portabellas "sandwiches"
Really going to have to avoid soups and stews next week, didn't realize that's 3 meals in a row with soup recipes. See you on the other side of the weekend!

04 January, 2011

Pepper-crusted fillet with sweet potato fries and spinach-stuffed mushrooms

My husband is a big red meat lover, so he almost died when I told him I would be making steak for dinner- first time in 3 and a half years of marriage. No idea what I was afraid of before, they came out great!
I had seen this pepper-crusted fillet recipe on Barefoot Contessa, and all I needed was a caste iron skillet. The sweet potato fries are one of our new obsessions since we found a little burger joint nearby that sells them in place of the usual, and they are so easy to make!
I'm kinda of on the fence about the stuffed mushrooms. For the amount of time and effort it took to make them, I really didn't think they were that great and probably won't be making them again anytime soon.
School started back up today, and I was tired when I got home, but I had been thinking about those steaks all day; so, unlike a lot of people, the New Year's Resolution is on a roll!
What I am struggling with is trying to wean ourselves into whole foods or using more organic products. Unfortunately, even living in cattle central, there are very few venues to get grass-fed beef nearby. Really the only thing good about this meal is that the onion & spinach in the stuffed mushrooms are locally grown organic. The sweet potatoes are in season here in Texas right now, so we'll be eating those quite a bit. This weekend we're going to check out the local farmer's markets, so hopefully we'll have more luck there.
If you want any of the recipes, I'd be happy to share, but I've got a few dishes left and some papers to grade right now. Happy cooking in 2011!