Sunday Sup: Brunch

Every year things get mad busy at the end of April. It’s my Father in law’s birthday, followed two days later by my husband’s birthday, followed four days later by my son’s birthday. This always lends itself to a big family to do. And since the unfortunate demise of my MIL, I host. (If you know astrology at all, you know the above means I frequently have 3 Taurus’s in my house.)

So this year the “party” was a Sunday brunch at the request of my FIL. I’ve made many of these dishes before and I’ll link to my previous version of the recipe. The only thing I made a head of time was the bacon wrap dates. I prepped those the night before. Everything else was done in about 2 hours the morning of the event. With so much time to spare I made gf, sf, egg free, nut free, blueberry muffins for my class the next day at the same time as this brunch.

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Starting with a platter of those chocolate raspberry thumbprint cookies and the fixins for Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas…That’s peach sparkling wine, FYI, it was divine with the OJ. The little bottle is Cassis. It’s a Dutch thing you serve children at parties.

 

Moving on to the mains:

Bacon, Broccolini, Gruyere frittata

Citrus Salmon with orange salsa – straight from Jess at How Sweet Eats, no modifications save the size of my salmon.

Chocolate Banana Muffins – from Paleomg, I made some mods thought. Tj’s flour for one. Butter instead of coconut oil. I use Lily’s chocolate chips. And I left out the walnuts because I was out. LOL

Bacon wrapped dates

Goat Cheese and Beet Salad – This one is easy and people love it. Buy a bag of arugala, wash it, throw half a good amount in a bowl. Chop up two of the little boxes of steamed baby beets, toss onto arugala. Sprinkle a hefty amount of goat cheese on top. Drizzle with a rich balsamic. Done and people think you’re snazzy.

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Sunday Sup: Secretly Lazy Dinner

You ever have one of those days? You are just wiped out. And you don’t really have a good justification for it, you just are. So you know you have to produce some kind of dinner, because you don’t have a reason not to. Smiles. Secret weapon time.

I’m going to show you the pic first this time. Because the presentation is half of getting away with this dish. IMG_20170409_180442

Doesn’t it look pretty? You’d never know I spent 9 minutes on this.

Whip a box of Beechers Brown rice and kale gratin out of the freezer. (Plan ahead people.) Pop that in the micro for it’s 6 minute run. Chop some left over chicken or if you are me, grab that bag of precooked sliced chicken you always have in your fridge (just in case) and chop some of that. Pull out your bag of real bacon bites (Costco is amazing) and a really good quality parm. I get mine from River Valley Cheese.

When the micro dings, you have to pull off the plastic wrap and put it back in for 90 seconds. This is the perfect time to add a bowl of the cut up chicken so it warms too.

Combine chicken, Beecher’s dish, bacon in nice dish. Top with freshly grated parm.

Sunday Sup: Experimental Muffins

I bribe my students. I do. If they share an opinion about the reading or vocalize an answer to the homework, I toss them candy. I teach Junior High and High school students at a very small school.

But some of my students are all about the healthy. And some of my students are allergic to everything under the sun. So…I decided to bake them treats. I’ve made this recipe many times with less substitutions and they come out beautifully. The substitution ones worked as well although the texture was a touch off, the taste was superb.

Carrot Pineapple Muffins (Cupcakes)

These have no gluten, no refined sugar, no nuts, and no eggs. I don’t know where the original recipe came from, it is out of the binder of recipes on bits of scrap.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk 2/3 c gf flour ( I like Trader Joes’s blend), 1/3 c coconut sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp allspice.

Melt 1/3 c butter and add to dry ingredients with 1/2 c cinnamon apple sauce. Stir to combine.

Gentle fold in 1 c shredded carrots and 1/2 c chopped pineapple. Chop finely if putting in muffin pans.

Pour into silicone muffin pan, each cup 2/3 full. This makes about ten muffins. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan, then they pop right out.

Now you can adjust this recipe several ways.

1/ The original calls for 1 c chopped walnuts. Add this if you like. It does add a nice flavor and texture to the muffins.

2/ You can also use 2 eggs in place of the apple sauce. If you do that, add 1 tsp cinnamon instead of 3/4 tsp.

3/ You can also bake this as a loaf cake. Or pour it into a train shaped pan. (Kiddo’s first birthday.) For a loaf pan the bake time goes up to 50 minutes.

4/ You can also substitute 1/3 c coconut oil for the butter.

5/ If using real flour, the amount stays the same. If using cane sugar however, increase to 1/2 cup.

Now then, to covert muffins into cupcakes you need frosting. I will give two recipes. Both are tasty it just depends on your life style choices.

Simple: 8 oz block good cream cheese, by which I mean NOT philly. Read the ingredients on that some times. It’s all chemicals. So buy a cream cheese made of cream and milk please. Let it sit out a bit so it’s easier to mix. Add 1/4- 1/3 c maple syrup and blend until smooth.

Complicated: One 8 oz block cream cheese ( see above diatribe), 5 tbsp soft butter, 2 tsp vanilla, beat until combined. Add 2 c powdered sugar.

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Sunday Sup: It’s finally Spring Pasta

It’s officially Spring according to the calendar. We topped fifty degrees. I shaved my legs and broke out my spring skirts. Ahhh, spring. Just two weeks ago I was complaining I was soooo cold, this winter had been so harsh, why did I go to Europe in the dead of winter instead of somewhere warm? But now all is forgotten, because the sun shown on my pale as snow legs yesterday. smiles

I don’t know where I got the original recipe for this. It’s scribbled on a half sheet of note paper in my binder of recipes scribbled on bits of this and that.

Spring Pasta

This is a very forgiving recipe. Double it, half it. Change the amount of each veg, that’s all good. It will change the taste a bit but still be tasty.

Start oven preheating to 400. Get out a large glass baking dish, I use a 9X18. I suppose it doesn’t have to be glass as long as it is non reactive and large enough to hold everything without letting the sauce run everywhere.

Chop the woody ends off one pound asparagus. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Toss into the dish.

Cut the bright white and dark green portions off 2 medium leeks. Slice into half moons. Rinse well. Allow to drain.

Cut three handfuls of grape tomatoes in half. I like mixed heirloom ones. Add to the dish.

Toss in 2 handfuls of golden raisins.

Add those drained leeks. IMG_20170329_161659

Crumble up 1 pound of chicken Italian sausage, sweet or hot, your call. You can also use pork sausage if that floats your boat.

Mix 1/4 c olive oil, 1/2 c good balsamic, a tsp of minced garlic in a bowl until all incorporated. Pour over the veg. Stir everything around. Pop it in the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.

Stir when the timer goes off, put it back in, and start your water for your pasta. You can use whatever pasta you like. I used edamame pasta on this one. And a low amount as I try to minimize carbs. Zoodles would also work but this dish will be a bit soupy as zoodles don’t absorb IMG_20170329_183254sauce.

By the time your pasta is done, 15-20 minutes later, your veg are done as well. Drain the pasta and add to the veg pan. Mix all together. Serve with parm.

Sunday Sup: Glorious Carbie Pancakes

I almost never indulge in this sort of carb fest for breakfast. It just sets the wrong tone for the whole day. Start off with pancakes and end up with french fries for dinner and five pounds on the scale. But we were flipping my son’s room and the guest room and deep cleaning both for the third time in the 3.5 years we have lived here. That much furniture moving requires a little carbo loading. LOL

So my favorite pancakes. Originally from The Pioneer Woman, I’ve made a few adjustments.

Put 1 1/2 c gluten free flour blend into a large bowl. I use Trader Joe’s flour but your preference is fine, I am sure.

Add one tablespoon Baking Power and 3 tablespoons coconut sugar. Stir.

In a medium bowl, 1 1/2 c milk. Your pick. I usually use 3/4 a cup half/half and 3/4 a cup almond milk because that’s what I always have on hand. Add the juice of 1 1/2 medium lemons. Add the zest of those juiced lemons. Stir to combine and let it sit five minutes.

Put 2 tbsp good butter into the micro to melt.

Turn on your griddle to preheat. I like 325 degrees.

Go back to your milk/lemon bowl. Add one egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and the melted
butter. Stir. Add to dry ingredients. Stir. Should be soupy.

Add 1 c blueberries. Fresh or frozen, does not mattIMG_20170325_103913er. But if you use frozen be aware it will make your butter solidify a bit in the batter. This is fine. Still tastes good and the butter melts back into the batter on the griddle. It will also take a smidge more cooking time if using frozen blueberries. Cook each side until brown. I am sure you all know not to flip that pancake until all the air bubbles pop and the brown edge becomes visible.

 

I like to keep mine warm on the stove, covered by a clean towel. It helps if you are broiling sausage or bacon at the same time as the stove top will be slightly warmed.

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Sunday Sup: Chicken Cream Pasta

I am not usually one for dishes this fussy but I have to admit the final taste was worth every minute. The basis for this dish comes from Jess over at HowSweetEats. You can check her version out here.

For this one, you need to prep ahead of time. The sauce is fussy. So chop 1 lb of asparagus into 1 inch pieces, no woody ends. Chop 1 lb of cooked chick breast into bites sized pieces. I used the pre cooked, pre sliced chicken that comes in handy one pound packages at the the store.

Start your water for your pasta.

Start a second small pot of water to boil. Add 2 egg yolks, 2 packages of creme fraiche (1.5 cups total), and 1 c parm cheese shredded, to a metal bowl. Place the bowl over the small pot of water and stir. You need to keep an eagle eye on this sauce, stir frequently, and NEVER let it bubble.

When the pasta water boils, toss yours in. I used a Quinoa and Brown Rice spiral noddle. You could use zoodles if so inclined or edamame pasta. I had neither on hand and so subbed this. I would pick a pasta that can actually absorb sauce though. Zoodles aren’t so good at that.

Keep stirring that sauce.

Put a skillet over medium heat. Add a good helping of butter, let it melt, throw in asparagus and chicken. Stir occasionally.

Keep stirring that sauce. As thing get warm and start to melt, stir constantly, whisk like mad. It is totally worth it. Pull the bowl from the under pot when it is all combined and a thick cheese sauce.

Drain your pasta. Add the asparagus, chicken, and cheese sauce to the pasta. Toss. Top with shredded parm. I have no pics of this. It got decimated in one night at my house. LOL.

Sunday Sup: Spanish Rice Redux

The original for today’s Sunday Sup comes from a cookbook entitled Eat Smart, Lose Weight. It was a gift. From my mother. Cough, cough, did you just say I was dumb and fat? Cough, cough.
It’s one of those awful books from the days where fat was the devil and eating as many carbs as possible created a nation of diabetics…yeah. I’ve made a few changes to this one.
Spanish Rice Redux
Chop a pound of pork chops, pork sirloin, pork loin, etc (your choice, what do you have on hand) into small cubes. Brown over medium high heat in olive oil in a largish pot.
While that browns, chop 2 small red onions, 2 red bell peppers, and one green zucchini. (I know they only come in green but I like balance.)
Remove the pork from the pot, add a bit more olive oil if needed. Put all the chopped veg in the pot with a teaspoon of minced garlic. Or use a couple of cloves if you’re old fashioned.
Give it 3-5 minutes. Stir a bit too. Let all the veg get softer and a bit of a tan.
Add the meat back.
Add 2 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes, the 15oz cans, or 1 1/2 cans and a fresh tomato if you forgot to buy more canned ones the last time you were at Costco.
Add 2 cups chicken stock and one 16 oz bag of riced cauliflower.
Bring to a simmer, then cover and lower the temp to low.
Simmer 30 minutes. Go take a nap or wash yesterday’s dishes now that your kiddo has finally unloaded the dishwasher.
Give it a good stir. Take the lid off and simmer until it is the dryness you desire. With no additional simmer it will be a bit soupy. I like to give it another 15.
Serve with sliced avocado on top.
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