First I started with roasted veggies. Mekius has been told from numerous specialists that in order to stay alive, he needs to eat healthy. Fruits and veggies are more a fight with him (at 26) than it is with my 5 and 2 year old. So thanks to my AWESOME Mama, who gave me a mandoline for my birthday (which is not until June, hence the MEGA awesomeness), I was able to chop/slice/julienne.....carrots, asparagus, garlic, tri color red peppers, mushrooms, onion and broccoli. I was literally snacking out of the bowl.
Mmmmm snack bowl
So then I tossed the whole thing (I want to say there is easily 12+ cups veggies in here) with 4 tbsp olive oil and about 15-20 turns of fresh ground salt/pepper respectively. I split it up into two batches, roasted each batch for 60 minutes at 350 degrees, uncovered. Once it was all done I tossed it into the food processor and pureed it. It now resembles a roasted veggie paste and is delicious. I've been putting it in EVERYTHING. I put it into hamburger patties, I mixed pasta with it, I put some into cream of mushroom soup which made a tasty gravy for chicken. I plan on putting it in my lasagna too. Anywhere I can hide it, will boost everyone's daily veggie intake and that is NEVER a bad thing :)
I also made homemade refried beans. These were kind of a pain, but also not. One bag of pinto beans from Aldi broke the bank at $.49. I soaked them overnight in a mixing bowl of water. Dumped it all into the slow cooker and let them cook all day (10 hours). Drain (reserve liquid in a separate container) refrigerate both overnight. In the morning toss 2tbsp butter in a LARGE pan (mine was almost not big enough) and toss the beans and pour in the liquid. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
MASH. Like your life depends on it. I chose to leave some of them intact, because I personally find the 'pasty' canned variety disgusting. Let them simmer and the water will boil off. Watch closely for your desired consistency. Once these thicken, they require constant attention and stirring. Add the salt last. Turn off, let cool and serve of bag for future use. I will be using this and several fillings (cheese, pulled pork, various leftover meat and my roasted veggie puree to mix with the beans for a healthy and filling lunch for Mekius at work). I tried these and was instantly taken back to about 4th grade when my old friend Reyna's mom would invite me to come home for lunch with her and I would get to eat delicious authentic mexican food. I so miss that lady!
Last but not least, the beauty that is bread. At Walmart late one night I found Paula Deen dutch ovens on clearance for $20, so I snapped one up. It's a 4 qt and it's red and I think I might have found my soul mate. So upon my journey of looking for dutch oven recipes, my eyes were opened to a new phenomenon. Dutch oven crusty bread. I will not delve into the dirty details, but here is the recipe.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
This recipe is courtesy of Simply so good and I am so thankful to her for sharing. Check out her blog for more yummy stuff as well as yummy variations on the recipe to suit your palate. This is how mine turned out.
I finished it at 11:30 am and by 11:30pm it was GONE.
That's how good this is. I alternated dipping in balsamic and basil dipping
oil from Tastefully simple and just using plain olive oil mix with parm cheese :D
Last but not least, the new recipe I tried last night can be found here. The changes I made are below
In place of cream of chicken I used cream of mushroom
In place of sour cream I used Greek yogurt
In place of butter I used Brummel and brown yogurt based margarine
I only used 1 sleeve of crackers (for 3 chicken breasts and it was MORE than enough)
I forgot the parsley, I had it, but forgot
Also, I added a can of green beans to the gravy, with a bit of the green bean liquid to thin.
This was one of those recipes I stumbled across, miraculously had all the ingredients and HAD to try, before I licked my screen. It was SO delicious. Comfort food that didn't feel heavy! I think next time I will skip the butter, because with the soup and the creaminess of the Greek yogurt, I didn't even pick up the butter in the recipe. Here's mine, plated up and DELICIOUS, with the heel of my equally worthy and delicious crusty bread :)
That's all the awesomeness I will bombard you with for now, I will try to get on later tonight and tell you all about Penelope, and the crafts I think will come tomorrow. Please let me know if you try these recipes and give the creators much love for delicious noms. Post any subs or versions that you make!