Tag Archives: easy

Mashed Potato Alternative – Garlic Cauliflower Mash

21 May

I have a confession to make – I love mashed potatoes. I have, on occasion, eaten a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner. No lie. Just a big ‘ol cereal bowl of them. And I scraped that bowl clean. Not my best nutritional choice, but it was delicious, and I loved every single heaping bite on my fork. That being said, I am always up for trying new things and substituting one food item for another option. On Sunday, I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot – it keeps the house from getting hot from the oven being on for 3 hours, minimum. It’s low energy use. And, it’s freaking EASY. And not to mention delicious. But we’ll talk about crock pot roast chicken another time…

Anyway, Sunday was a whole chicken for dinner kind of day. We were working out in the yard. And when you are working out in the yard, you don’t really have the time (or energy) to put into peeling, chopping, boiling, mashing potatoes. That is too much time, and too many steps. Enter in the Garlic Cauliflower Mash. This was AMAZING. Seriously. I could have devoured the whole bowl of this stuff, but decided I should probably eat some chicken, because it’s pretty amazing. When these are done being blended, they look just like mashed potatoes. Hubs even liked them. He said you could tell it wasn’t actual potatoes because they were not dense like mashed potatoes, but good, with lots of flavor. Fluffy, tasty, and one could be tricked into thinking they were potatoes whenever they are topped with gravy. I will be making these many  more times to come over the summer because these came together quickly. As in, like 15 minutes start to finish quick. They taste great the next day too. I almost didn’t share the leftovers with the hubs. Almost.

If you don’t have boursin cheese, you can sub in cream cheese. Just add in some extra chives, and a bit more garlic powder for the extra flavor. Don’t have an immersion blender? You can put the recipe into a food processor or blender, whatever you have on had. I would say that a potato masher will work too, but you won’t get the smooth texture that you get from blending them up. Don’t like cauliflower? Well then why in the hell are you reading this recipe???

 

garlic cauliflower mash

Garlic Cauliflower Mash

serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium head cauliflower
3 tablespoons garlic & herb boursin cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1 tablespoon chives
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Bring a medium pot of water to boil.

Wash and chop your head of cauliflower into chunks. Add to boiling water and cook for until fork tender, 6-10 minutes depending on the size of your chunks.

Drain well. While still hot, pat dry with paper towels, pressing down to squeeze out any excess moisture.

Add to a bowl with the boursin, garlic powder, salt & pepper, chives and butter if using. Add in the hot cauliflower, and using an immersion blender, mix until smooth. Serve immediately.

 

 

Quick Dinner – Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

29 Apr

We are getting to that time of year when things start to get busier at our house. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones either. Outdoor chores like weeding the flower beds, mowing the grass and planting the garden come into play. With warmer weather also comes more outdoor activities – motorcycle rides, outdoor parties, weddings, graduation parties, camping, bicycle rides. That means less time spent at home, which translates to quick dinner options on the weekdays. I don’t want to be stressing about what to make for dinner, or punk out and make something that is quick, but completely unhealthy. Since I am on the path to healthier eating, I’ve been thinking up meal options that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less, but are healthy, filling, and taste great. These burgers fit that bill. You get a burst of nutrient rich veggies from the spinach mixed into the burger, plus the addition of using more baby spinach in place of lettuce. The chicken is packed with protein but lower in fat than your traditional beef options, and frankly more flavorful than ground turkey. The feta cheese adds some dairy, and eliminates the need for additional salt since it helps flavor the meat. I used olive oil mayo that I spiced up with some wasabi sauce, giving the burger a little zing. It complimented the burger very well! Ciabatta rolls were a lovely change of pace from traditional burger buns, and could actually be skipped completely if you are looking to limit your intake of carbs, serving it over a bed of baby spinach with a little smear of the wasabi mayo. We enjoyed these with a large serving of garden salad, and it was delicious!

spinach & feta chicken burgers

Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

makes 4  1/4lb burgers 

1lb ground chicken

4oz feta cheese crumbles

1 1/2 cups baby spinach, torn into smaller pieces

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl, and form into 4 1/4lb burger patties. Pan fry – no additional oil – or grill until cooked all the way through, 10-15 minutes. Serve on toasted ciabatta bread with baby spinach and wasabi mayo. Serve with a garden salad for a light and healthy dinner! Also great for lunch!

Healthy Meal Idea – Spinach & Bacon with White Beans

22 Apr

I’ve been on a blog hiatus recently. Not because I’ve been overly busy or anything. More like I’ve been trying to enjoy the lovely weather when it comes about. Catching up on some spring cleaning chores like cleaning out the chicken coop and run. Trying out new recipes, and revisiting old ones. I am always on a mission for easy, healthy, simple and QUICK meal ideas. Have you ever noticed that most of the easy meals tend to be unhealthy because you are either eating a premade meal made who knows when, preckaged stuff that has so many preservatives you feel almost pickled after, or it’s laden with fat to compensate for flavor? Blech. Enter in the Spinach & Bacon with White Beans. It’s fast. It’s tasty. It’s healthy. It’s LOW FAT. Even with the butter and bacon. Ya, that’s right. But it’s REAL butter. Not margarine. Not anything that’s 1 step away from being plastic. If you are going to ingest a fat, make it a natural one. BUTTER people. BUTTER. Say it with me….BUTTER. End rant.

Anyways, back to this meal. It’s filling. Because of the beans. That’s a lot of fiber. Good for you, keep you full fiber. It was delicious. No added salt or pepper was needed. I used precooked bacon because it’s quick, and it’s lower in fat and calories, and we always have some on hand. Don’t feel like you HAVE to. Don’t feel like you have to use bacon either – you could use some chopped country ham, prosciutto, salami. Whatever. And you can mix up the greens too – collard greens, mustard greens, kale. I just had a big ass container of spinach, which I happen to love, and wanted to use it up. Boy, I’m glad I whipped this up. I think hubs wished I made a double batch. He wanted more. So, I guess I should say this would serve 2 as a lunch sized portion. Double the recipe if you’ve got a big meal eating man in your life. Next time I make it I think I’ll cook up an egg over easy and top the greens & beans with that. And a little parmesan. Wow. I want that right now.

Spinach & Bacon with White Beans

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a meal

Ingredients

1 pound fresh organic baby spinach

6 garlic cloves, minced

8 pieces pre cooked bacon, chopped

2 cans Great Northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon REAL butter

shaved parmesan

Add butter to a large skillet, letting melt. Add in your garlic and bacon, cooking until bacon is crisp and garlic is starting to get a little crispy looking – about 3 minutes. Add your beans, tossing to coat with the bacon garlic butter mix. Keep tossing until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add your spinach, in batches if necessary, stirring the mixture around to let the spinach wilt and cook through.

Serve immediately, and sprinkle with some shaved parmesan cheese for an extra hit of flavor!

Sriracha Salt. You’re Welcome.

11 Mar

Nope. You read that right. Sriracha Salt. In the wild world of flavor, this salt is an odd yet flavorful addition to your spice cabinet. I don’t know if Randy Clemens, the author of the Sriracha Cookbook is the originator of the recipe for this tasty salt or not, but I’m just going to go with that.

I don’t have his cookbook. I like sriracha, but not enough to justify giving primo shelf space up for something devoted completely to this one condiment. I don’t know what his exact ratio of ingredients is for his personal mixture, just that it contains kosher salt, sriracha, granulated garlic, and cayenne pepper. I decided to keep it simple and make up my own mixture. I refused to research any further something as simple as a flavored salt. The process is pretty simple. Measure, mix, dehydrate. Boom.

My suggestion would be to use this as a flavor booster on already cooked foods. Sprinkled on eggs – scrambled or over easy. Sprinkled on roasted veggies, chicken, sandwiches. This would be a great replacement for season salt on wings. Anywhere you would season your meal with salt, this would generally be a decent replacement.  Using it in soup would be something I’d avoid. I think you’ll lose the garlic and sriracha flavor with all that liquid. Although the originator does suggest using the salt to rim glasses for adult bevs – this would be fabulous for a bloody mary!

If you make this, let me know what you think! Don’t feel like making it? Lucky for you, you can buy it from Randy Clemens via Etsy. Buying it’s a bit lazy. This is so easy, just do it yourself!

sriracha salt

Sriracha Salt

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup sriracha hot sauce

1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix them up. Put a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and spread the mixture in a thin layer over the parchment. Place in the oven on the lowest setting it will go. Once the oven reaches temperature, turn off the oven and let the mixture sit overnight to dehydrate.

The  next day, check the mixture. If it’s still moist, stir it, spreading it into a thin layer again. Put it back in the oven to dehydrate for an hour or two, until totally dry. Once the mixture has cooled, add it to a food processor and pulse until chunks are broken down, and it looks like orange red kosher salt again. Store in an airtight container and use on what you want whenever you want!

Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Bacon & Onion

11 Feb

Hello my sarcastic followers! I’m not sure why, but I’ve been on a cabbage kick recently. Maybe it’s because of my Slovak background and I’m getting hungry for halushki. Maybe it’s because it’s cold out and since the chickens have limited access to greens, we always have a few heads of cabbage around so they can have a treat. Maybe it’s because I just spent a week in Las Vegas and ate and drank so much not so good for me stuff that I need a bodily reset back to healthy eating habits!!! Who knows. But I was wanting to come up with a way to eat cabbage that was healthier than good old-fashioned butter laden halushki, and tastier than steamed or no butter added sautéed cabbage. And the roasted cabbage wedge was born! It’s a very easy side dish to make. It’s relatively healthy (2 tablespoons of butter divided by 6 servings!). And even the leftovers are great. We ate this alongside a marinated pork tenderloin that cooked in the oven on the same baking sheet as the cabbage. Dinner was ready to eat in under an hour, including prep work and cook time. I would actually be perfectly content to eat these cabbage wedges on some egg noodles and have that as a meal. A lower fat sub for halushki!

Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Bacon & Onion

1 small head cabbage, cleaned and trimmed of any wilted leaves

2 tablespoons melted butter (do not use margarine!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 slices precooked bacon, chopped

1 small Vidalia onion, sliced into half moons

kosher salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut cabbage into single serving wedges, coring out the hard stem section. You should have about 6 wedges. Place them on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt your butter. To that bowl, add the olive oil and stir to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush each wedge of cabbage, focusing on the top parts since the butter/oil mixture will pool underneath the cabbage wedges.

Distribute chopped bacon and onion moons over each cabbage wedge, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.

Place in preheated oven and let cook for 35-40 minutes, until cabbage is cooked and getting nice and roasted. Onions will be brown/charred. Serve and enjoy!

Breakfast Idea: Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

28 Jan

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I LOVE BREAKFAST! I can’t help it. It’s the best meal of the day in my opinion, and breakfast for dinner is really a treat. But back to this spread. It’s cheesy, it’s got some zing from the mustard powder, smokiness from the bacon, and the mayo helps bind it all together and up the creamy quotient. Another plus is on it’s own it’s Gluten Free (obviously you’ll have to put it on GF bread or crackers to keep it that way)! It’s yummy, quick, and can be used in a variety of ways listed below.

egg spread broiled

Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

12 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

2 cups freshly grated cheese ( I used Colby Jack)

1/2 cup Hellman’s Light Olive Oil Mayo

1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 slices bread of choice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. Refrigerate 1 hour to let flavors meld. (If freezing, skip this step)

egg spread premixeggspread mixed

I have used this recipe 4 different ways, all with great results:

1. Frozen – Top english muffins with mixture and freeze individually. Remove from freezer letting thaw overnight for use the following day. Place under broiler for roughly 5 minutes, until golden brown and warmed through.

2. Microwaved – for 30-60 seconds and topped on crackers.

3. Traditional – top a toasted piece of bread or english muffin with the mix, and place under broiler for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

4. Appetizer – follow original directions, but chop the egg and bacon a bit finer. Heat is a small crock pot and serve with crackers, melba toast, or slices of baguette bread. Yum!

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I feel that you need variety! A cold bowl of cereal just won’t cut it to cover 7 days a week! I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast treat as much as we do!

The DIY Life: an upcycle for canning rings

4 Jan

So, ya. Canning rings, or bands. Whatever you call them, I have a plethora of them. I have dented ones that get beat up from use. Rusty ones from old canning jars that people gifted me. Gold ones. Silver ones. Tarnished ones.  A LOT! When a canning ring gets rusty, or dented, you are supposed to stop using it for actual canning since it can cause issue with your jars sealing properly. Instead of tossing them, I string them onto a piece of ribbon and keep them separate from my good canning rings. The beat rings are the ones I use when I need to secure the lid on an open jar (I don’t give a rats ass if it’s dented for in fridge food storage!). I’ll use some of the rusty and tarnished ones as a craft jar option. But I STILL have a shit ton of these things. So, I decided to get crafty with them. But it had to be an easy craft. Otherwise I get bored and abandon the craft. With the front porch bench bare now that the holidays are over, I needed something to put on it. And my mason jar holding the lone candle just seemed, well, sad. All alone on that big old bench. It needed a buddy. Someone to snuggle up with.

This craft is so stinking simple it’s ridiculous. You could do this blindfolded, with one hand behind your back and it would still rock.

The “directions” are as follows: I strung together the rusted, dented, beat up canning lids onto a piece of ribbon. When putting them onto the ribbon, I made sure they were all facing the same direction. Once they were all on the ribbon, I pulled the ribbon tight- SUPER tight, double knotted it and cut off the excess. Once the excess ribbon was gone, I fixed up the canning rings making them all nice and orderly. Then I jammed my mason jar “candle holder” into the center and stuck it on the bench. TA-DA! When I told you I generally stick to easy crafts, I wasn’t lying to you. The only way a craft can get any easier is to not actually craft anything. Really.

canningring

I was tempted to put it on my kitchen table, but it looked out of place so I stuck with my original plan as an outdoor decoration. I think it looks lovely. And I am digging that rusty patina from the old rings. If you do this with new canning rings, it will still look nice. Want that weathered look? Hang the rings somewhere outside where they will be subjected to the elements. It will give them a nice weathered patina.