Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Spaghetti Squash

Looks appetizing, doesn't it?
So Kendall told me that her mom bought pumpkin spaghetti sauce, so naturally I wanted to try to recreate it for my spaghetti squash. I've been buying lots of canned pumpkin lately and putting it in my mug cakes, so I thought I'd try it with my dinner this time.

As usual, I didn't measure a single thing, so I'll do my best to estimate, but its not an exact science anyway, right? The amount I made was for half a spaghetti squash.

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 - 3/4 can pureed pumpkin (give or take a spoonful)
2 cups broth (I used veggie)
2 tbsp olive oil
Seasonings (steak seasoning, italian herb blend, garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc)
Tomato paste

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil and onion. Once the onion softens, add some garlic...I added maybe a teaspoon. Then add your pumpkin and broth and mix well. Add your seasonings (whatever kind you like/have on hand) and olive oil and keep stirring. I just sprinkled the herbs and stuff in the sauce and mixed it and tasted it, added more, etc. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for a bit until it all looks blended. I added a little more broth to get the consistency I wanted, so you can experiment here. Taste it and add more seasonings if necessary. I added about a tablespoon of tomato paste at the end...I don't know why, I just felt like it should have some tomato essence in there. I think that's all I put in it. I had done the squash in the microwave while I made the sauce, then I cut up some sausage and sauteed that in a pan to put on top.

The kale/chard was just in a big skillet with some onion/garlic/steak seasoning/broth...the usual.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yummy Chili

I've been so hungry for chili or soup, or even the weather to eat chili or soup. And yesterday was it!

I threw this together in the pressure cooker, since I didn't start until about 4:00 pm. It would work great in the crockpot if you browned the meat and vegetables first and started it in the morning. A pot on the stove would work too. As usual, this is a guideline, not a scientific report. This is what I had on hand and used - you can sub almost anywhere!

Greene Chili (ha ha)

1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 bell peppers
5 ounces mushrooms
2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks celery
1-2 cups chopped sweet potato
1 can crushed tomatoes (medium can)
1 can chopped tomatoes (I used a large can)
chili spices to taste: cumin, chili powder, paprika, green chile seasoning
salt/pepper to taste

Brown meat, crumbling, and remove to a bowl. Saute vegetables in same pan until they start to soften. Return meat to pan and add tomatoes and seasonings.

Using the pressure cooker, I added about 1/2 cup of water to make sure it wouldn't burn or go dry. I covered it, put the weight thingy on top and brought it up to full pressure. I lowered the heat until it just "sang" a bit and let it cook under pressure for about 15 minutes. I then lowered the heat to low, and let it simmer for another hour or so. The pressure dropped naturally during that time, so I was able to check on it. It was ready after about 20 minutes, but I let it simmer until we were ready to eat.

On the stove, I would also add water and bring the chili up to a simmer (gentle barely bubbling boil), then turn down very low and let it cook as long as you can. An hour would be fine (you want the veggies soft), but longer is good. Add water as necessary to replace the steam that burns off.

In the crockpot, you probably don't need any additional water. Just put the chili into the pot, turn it on low, and go about your day for 8 hours or so. If you're in a hurry, turn it to high for part of the time. If you're really in a hurry, I highly recommend a good pressure cooker.

This was really delicious. I went a little heavy on the spicy side (think it was the green chile seasoning I added), but Stuart thought it was perfect.

Next time, I would add more vegetables. There was plenty of meat. The sweet potato adds the perfect touch of sweetness and mellows out the flavor. And Hil, the mushrooms are optional, but they pretty much disappeared into the chili and even you couldn't have found them!

Make a lot and freeze some for that day that you know is coming, when you are tired and hungry and want something that Mom would have made. ;-)

P.S. The almond muffins were great with this!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Almond Muffins

I rarely look at Pinterest, unless one of the girls tells me to, or sometimes I get an email from Pinterest with something that looks interesting. Then I get all excited and "pin" something and decide to use this fun tool more often. And then I forget. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But today I saw a pin about cooking pancake batter in muffin tins, and zipped into the kitchen to experiment. Here's my grain-free version.

Almond Muffins

3 large eggs
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp oil (coconut or mild olive oil)
1 cup almond flour (the finely ground kind)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
dash of stevia or honey if you want them sweet

Beat eggs, water and oil with a fork, and add dry ingredients. Grease 6 muffin tins very well, and fill each about half-way. (Mine made exactly six). Bake in preheated 400 degree oven about 10-12 minutes, or until very lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Makes a good quick breakfast -- you decide what to put on them. I tried a little butter and I think they would be a great accompaniment to soup for dinner. A good substitute for cornbread, which I confess that I miss. 

(And yes, this batter makes really good pancakes.)

(Steph, this is for you!)