Tag Archives: potatoes

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carrot potatoes

Today is Day 13 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness.  You can read Day 1 here.

For the last few days we have been talking about nutrition and feeding our bodies healing foods. For some of you this is a welcome challenge or a return to the healthy lifestyle you used to have.  The rest of you are having a panic attack.  You can't cook, you don't know anything about nutrition, you don't have time.

Don't freak out, you can do this.

I'm not proposing that you immediately clear out your fridge and pantry of all suspicious foods, run out to Whole Foods and restock it all with seaweed chips and mushroom burgers.   What you need to do is start small.  Just one little lifestyle change at a time. Start reading the labels of the foods already in your pantry; if you come across an ingredient you don't recognize, look it up.  Next time you run out of Cool Ranch Doritos, don't replace them. Add a fresh salad to your weekly meals.

Salad are a great way to start adding fresh vitamins and minerals into your diet, no cooking involved.  Every grocery store in America now carries pre-chopped and washed lettuces. Pick up an extra veggie for your salad, something colorful like yellow bell peppers. Toss in some cherry tomatoes, add your favorite dressing or just a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.  You, my friend, are now eating your colors.

As for cooking, it can be intimidating but I assure you, there are shortcuts. Once you get a "method" under your belt, it can be the springboard to lots of quick, easy and nutritious meals.  I'm going to share with you one of my all time favorite methods for cooking a pile of veggies quickly and most deliciously.

All you need to remember is this: 425 for 25

Here is the general method: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. cut up some veggies (I'll explain that further below) and drizzle them with some olive oil. Sprinkle in salt and pepper then toss it all together with you hands.  Spread the veggies in one even layer and roast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

Now, let's apply this method to a real recipe, roasted carrots and red potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take 2 handfuls of baby carrots (the ones in the bag) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Take about 7 small red potatoes and cut them into quarters, place them with the carrots.  Drizzle the veggies with 2 tablespoon of olive oil then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Using your hands, toss the carrots and potatoes lightly to evenly coat them all with oil then spread out in 1 layer in the pan.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are just lightly browned.

The beauty of this method is that you can use it for so many vegetables: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, squash, onions and more.  Just adjust the cooking time as needed, up or down.  I like my veggies tinged with crispiness on the edges (blackened, actually) so I usually cook them for 35-45 minutes.  But feel free to cook them less if you like them more firm or only lightly toasted. I will roast 1 whole pan of vegetables on Sunday night and end up with about 3 days worth of delicious vegetables for lunch or dinner. All I have to do is warm them back up.

You can experiment with seasonings, too. Along with the salt & pepper you can add Italian seasoning, chile powder, herbs de Provence, lemon pepper, grill seasoning, etc.

Don't let "heath food" scare you, it's not rocket science.  Just start exploring the delicious possibilities.

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I love Pinterest for so many reasons but the biggest reason is that it allows me to be a hoarder without taking up any physical space.  This, however, has created a huge problem with my Food Stuff Board- it has grown to a morbidly obese size and isn't all that helpful when you are trying to find something specific.  One board for everything from appetizers to side dishes to desserts just doesn't work.  So earlier this week I sat down and started sifting through my Food Stuff Board, breaking it down into smaller categories.  So far I have created new boards dedicated solely to appetizers, beverages, gluten free, sweets, breads and soups.

I won't lie, it wasn't a super fun task and I'm only about halfway through.  But I had a good laugh at myself for how many times I pinned the exact same recipe for braised short ribs.  I reeeeeeally wanted to remember that one!

Another plus to all this organizing was remembering all the great recipes I have stored like this recipe for Spanish Chicken with Chorizo & Potatoes from Nigella Lawson.  I'll tell you a few reasons why I liked this recipe:

  • It requires only one pan.  ONE!
  • Potatoes and chicken, classic family favorites.  Kids and adults alike will eat this meal.
  • It cooks in the oven, which means I am not slaving away over a stove.  After a minimal amount of prep, I can toss all the ingredients together, put it in the oven and walk away.  An hour later, dinner is served.
  • The seasonings are simple: oregano.  I know what you're thinking, "What about the salt??!"  Don't' forget how spicy and salty chorizo can be.  Hold off on adding any salt until after it's done cooking.  You might not need any.
  • This recipe heartily serves 6 but you can easily cut it in half for a smaller group.
  • Um, helllllooooo, it's from Nigella.  I adore Nigella.  Sometimes I study her makeup so I can try to look more like Nigella.  Imitation is the best form of flattery, right?  But if I start talking with a phony British accent you should be concerned.

You can find the full recipe over at Nigella's site but I can give you the "gist" really quick:  Preheat the oven to approximately 425 degrees.  Drizzle 2 baking sheets with olive oil.  Add the chicken, tossing to coat in the oil. Add the rest of the ingredients (chorizo, onion, potato, oregano, orange zest) and pop in the oven for about 1 hour, giving the pans a quick turn at the halfway mark.

And if you're looking for even more inspiration, feel free to pop on over to my Pinterest boards and see what other lovely meals I plan to try!

Have a great weekend everyone, I hope you get all your holiday shopping done!

 

It's not that I have big plans this weekend, other than babysitting The Jake.  I just don't feel like doing any big cooking this weekend.  And I definitely don't want to have to worry about dinner plans.

Cue the cast iron skillet.  I love my cast iron pots & pans.  From the gigantic Lodge fry pan I received as a Christmas present to the itty bitty skillet that belonged to my grandma &  I convinced my brother to give to me- I just can't do without them.

So back to the recipe.  Aside from a little saucepan to precook the potatoes, this recipe for Rosemary Chicken is cooked in the cast iron skillet.  Less cleanup?  Yes please!

Plus, a cast iron skillet (or dutch oven) gives your food even heat and a golden crust that just cannot be duplicated by any other piece of cookware.

The recipe list is short : chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, red pepper, lemon, & olive oil.  But these are classic flavor combinations and will guarantee a hearty, warm, delicious meal.

It really looks so simple, sounds so yummy and won't be hard to clean up.  Let's go for it!

You can get the full recipe here, from Food Network.

So whether you're schedule is as lazy as mine or you have a marathon to run this weekend (literal or figurative), I hope you enjoy it.  See you back here next week!

I'm not going to lie, these potatoes are sinful.  And I attempted to serve them on Easter, but I accidentally left the whole pan of taters in the fridge at home.  Or perhaps I sub-consciously did it on purpose so I could have them all for myself, I'm not sure.

Here's the deal: there is a ton of fat in this recipe.  After sauteing your veggies and layering it all in a large pan, you dump in 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 1/2 cups of cheese!  As you can imagine, it turns the lowly potato into velvety goodness.  But if you eat these potatoes too often you are going to have to invest in bigger pants so save it for special occasions like Christmas.  Or a Tuesday.

The recipe comes from none other than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, and can be found in her cookbook The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook AND can be found online at the Food Network.  Before I started cooking I read through most of the comments and there are some slight adjustments the other reviewers suggested and wholeheartedly agree:

  • You can cut the cream in half and replace it with whole milk.  If you use the full amount of cream (which is what I did) you will end up with a delightfully creamy dish but there will also be a pool of butter-fat swimming at the top of your dish.  Go ahead and replace some of that high fat dairy with a lower fat option, it will still be delicious.
  • Based on other readers suggestions I boosted up the flavors with a few sprigs worth of chopped thyme, 1 garlic clove, extra pepper, and replaced half of the onion with a sauteed leek.  It added some terrific layers of flavor.
  • Feel free to swap out the cheese for whatever you have on hand.  In addition to the Gruyere I added a few grates of parmesan because I love it.  I also grated some parmesan over the dish in the last 5 minutes and broiled it till browned.
  • You can make this dish ahead of time by preparing everything as listed, then baking it for roughly half the time (45 mins or so) just to get everything "set" then refrigerate after it has cooled off.  Then when you are ready to serve, throw it in the oven for the remainder of time (another 45 min or so).  Just don't put it in the fridge and forget that it's there.  I'm just saying, it can happen to some people.
  • If you have a mandolin or a little slicer like this one from Kyocera,  now would be a good time to pull it out.  I was able to slice up my potatoes and fennel so fast and evenly, much thinner than I could have done by hand and definitely more consistent.
  • Note that this recipe serves 10 so unless you are making it for a small army (which happens to be the size of my family) then I'd cut it in half.

As for the process itself, it's pretty straightforward: slice up your potatoes and let them soak in the cream while you saute your aromatics.  Dump all of that plus the cheeses in a buttered dish and bake for roughly 1 1/2 hours.  You can find the full recipe by clicking here.

It's blustery and rainy here in CA but there is the promise of sunshine for the weekend.  I sure hope so, my skin is turning an unattractive shade of pale!

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photo by Ezra Pound Cake

photo by Ezra Pound Cake

I like the flavor of pork: pork chops, pork tenderloin, country ham, bacon… it’s all yummy to me.  But I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of pork recipes up my sleeve although my brother and I have worked out a really great pork chop recipe, I’ll have to share that soon. 

When I saw this recipe for an oven roasted pork loin I knew I had found a winner.  Carrots and potatoes are favorites too but a pork loin is just so versatile, it handles spice so well.  And if you cook it right, can be really moist.  Low fat too,  3 oz. of a pork loin has about 48 calories and only 2 grams of fat!

Bonus: this recipe uses a big cast iron skillet, which I have.  I love to use my cast iron.

The recipe comes from Ezra Pound Cake and is an adaptation from a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  No wonder I was so drawn to it!  You can get the whole recipe here but the gist of it is this:

Take some garlic, dijon and thyme and schmear it all over the pork loin.  While that’s resting, cut up your veggies and start cooking them in the cast iron pan.  After those have cooked for a bit, add the pork loin on top and finish in the oven for about 45 minutes.  As Ina says, “How easy was that?!”

I’ve got a lot on my plate this weekend but I’m going to enjoy every minute of it!  Have a great weekend friends!

PS:  If you haven’t popped over to the home page lately be sure to go look at the new design bits!

I know, I know!  I played hookie on Friday and didn't get the Friday Recipe out to you.  But I have a reeeeaaaly good excuse, I promise!  Here is my excuse:

This is my newest nephew and he has stolen my heart.  It was a busy week getting ready for his arrival and so, the Friday Recipe sorta got pushed to the back of the line.  However...

In a way I'm glad I put it off because I  had totally forgot that Pioneer Woman on Food Network debuted this weekend!  I have read Ree's blog for years and I was so excited for her tv show to start.  So when  I finally got home on Sunday night, sat down to watch a little tv and realized Ree's show was on my dvr, I was in hog heaven.  She made chicken fried steak & mashed potatoes, something my grandma made out on the farm on a regular basis.  Ree also made a Marinated Tomato Salad which was not exactly something we ate but we did have our own version:  take carrots, tomatoes and celery and marinate them in Good Seasons Italian dressing.  So for me, this show was like coming home.    If you are a country girl at heart or you want to learn how to make good-'ole-stick-to-your-ribs-country-food be sure to record Pioneer Woman.

So in honor of Ree's new show... our Friday Recipe... On Monday.... will be the Marinated Tomato Salad Ree prepared and I will definitely be making it because I have lots of tomatoes ripening out back and my basil needs to be lopped off again.  Sorry if I let you down on Friday but I hope your weekend was as special as mine was.