Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cooking Thoughts - the streaming version

We try to eat 2 or more veggies with our dinner, and my husband likes starch:) I like making things from scratch, but since we are still a small family, when I make a batch of muffins or cornbread or biscuits we don't usually eat all of it that night. So I try to "save a step" making those things and freezing what we won't or don't eat for another night when I have less time. I also make all of my own chicken broth using bones from a chicken, about a 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, and water. I bring that to a boil, skim the foam, and then throw in a bay leaf and a bunch of "veggie ends" that are typically thrown away. Carrot heads, leaves from celery, ends of asperagus, onion ends, brussel sprout ends - I save all those in a baggie in my freezer. When I am making broth, I can add as many as I want ( I throw in a lot). I let all this boil for about 3 hours. Then I strain it, let it cool down, make soup or chicken and dumplings with some of it. I try to save 3 2-cup increments for other recipes. Sometimes I save more. The way I do this is get out a cookie sheet, put the broth in quart-sized baggies, label it, and arrange it so it freezes flat. This saves me room in my freezer. Then when I am making Chicken curry and need broth, I just pull out a baggie of it and use that. We try to eat grass-fed animals, beef and chicken, as their fat is very good, healthy fat.
My favorite way to make dinner is to pick an ingredient, and base the meal around that. For example: coconut - coconut curry, rice cooked in a mixture of water and coconut milk, coconut muffins, Hawaiian chicken with shredded coconut sprinkled on top. Or Asperagus - cream of asperagus soup, or salad with lightly roasted asperagus on top, or asperagus quiche, or grilled asperagus and chicken. Or Sweet Potatoes - sweet potato fries, or mashed sweet potatoes with diced chicken on top, coconut milk drizzled, and toasted pecans sprinkled over the whole, or sweet potato hash with eggs for dinner.
Best way to roast veggies, any kind: toss or spray with olive oil, put on parchment paper in the oven @425 for 15 min. 20-40 min for potatoes depending on if they are fries or just diced. We do peppers, asperagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes and potatoes this way. I'm sure there are more veggies I'm not thinking of at the moment.

I just wrote that as I thought it - the streaming version - I hope you got some ideas:)

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