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We had another really nice dinner tonight, that took maybe 15 minutes to cook and left everyone happy.

Al had bought a rotisserie chicken the other night (this is what happens when I don't have time to go shopping, he goes when he's hungry and buys all this stuff I wouldn't buy...on the other hand, we got two good meals out of it, family of four.) and there was about one breast and most of a thigh worth of leftovers. 

Chicken Fajitas

Toss in a skillet on medium high heat: a little oil, some sliced onions, some sliced bell peppers; saute till just beginning to soften.
Season with a little cumin, garlic, fajita seasoning, whatever you've got.
Toss in cooked chicken, cut into strips. Throw into skillet.
Lower heat, cover and let sit till chicken is heated through.

Serve on tortillas (corn or wheat--we prefer corn) with salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, grated cheese, yogurt cheese or sour cream, and other fixins.

(Our kids ate quesadillas, tortillas with melted cheese, because they are too picky to eat anything else...)

Then for dessert I pulled out the ice cream maker and we had homemade chocolate frozen yogurt (i.e. I squeezed chocolate syrup into the plain yogurt) and raspberry sauce (recipe at greenmama.dreamwidth.org/10198.html ) for dessert.  Everyone was happy.

And our Roma plant has about 9 little tomatoes growing on it, and the cukes look like they're doing well...
greenmama: (Default)

Okay, so here (greenmama.dreamwidth.org/3862.html ) I talk about how to make your own yogurt in the crockpot.  Easy, fun, and if you're not all Buy Organic Milk like me it's probably way cheaper than the store-bought stuff, especially if you go through it at your house like we do here. 

This is just an easy addendum recipe that I tried last time I made the stuff: the next challenge after making homemade yogurt is of course to flavor it.  The easiest way is honestly to just drizzle a little honey and cinnamon, or maple syrup, or hell even chocolate syrup over it.  Yummers.

But I really was curious about trying to do the whole fruit yogurt thing.  So this is what I did:

Place in a bowl a pound of fresh-frozen fruit. (I used triple berry mix.)  Sprinkle maybe 1/4 cup sugar over it  and maybe a tbs. lemon juice (opt) and stir. (Different fruits and different tastes will obviously have different ideas here about how much sugar to use, and whether to use the lemon juice!)  I also add a sprinkle of cinnamon to it.  Just let it sit there at room temperature until the fruit melts and gets all mooshy with the sugar. 

That's it.  Easiest thing in the world.

This stuff was amazing--just perfectly sweet, incredibly fruit-y.  Very runny, of course, and you could cook it over the stove and mix in a little cornstarch-or-flour-and-water mixture to thicken it, but for my purposes it really didn't need it.  I honestly don't know if it would work the same with fresh fruit, and I'm inclined to doubt it, because I suspect it's part of the frozenness that breaks down the fruit enough to behave like this.  But honestly, when I get fresh fruit I'm not likely to cook or moosh it up; we eat our fresh berries straight.

Drizzle to taste over your (strained and thickened) yogurt.  Or...well, you can also stand over the bowl with a spoon, like I did, but that sort of defeats the purpose. 

Alternative: mix to taste with the yogurt and then freeze in an ice cream machine for frozen yogurt.  This should be delish.  Try it with raspberries, and then drizzle a little chocolate sauce over it when you serve it.
 
(EDIT: Just to note, I probably won't actually mix and store the fruit and yogurt together, although once the yogurt is strained well it's fairly easy to do that.  I'd rather just keep plain gurt in the fridge and have an assortment of things to treat it with, way more flexible...)

Man, this weight loss thing stinks...I mean, yes, it's working, but I just once want to have a Big Pig Out, eat as much as I want of something...anything...

--J
greenmama: (Default)
Okay, some days I think I'm being an idiot and wondering what the hell I'm up to with this whole footprint pseudo-green-suburban-mama thing, feeling very self-consciously chi-chi and precious like I'm trying to be something I'm not.

And then today, when I had 2 or 3 minutes to make lunch before running in for a noon staff meeting (which doesn't actually start until 12:30, I now discover, which is why I have time to blog), I am able with incredible ease and efficiency to do the following:
1. get a piece of whole wheat naan, the stuff from Trader Joe's we subsist on instead of regular bread, since it takes much longer to mold and is palatable to our kids,
2. place on half of it a few slices of lunchmeat (okay, it was roast beef, which is the most EVIL un-green meat one can consume, requiring immense resources to produce, but that's a rant for another day and we haven't eliminated beef entirely from our diets yet because my husband is of the Beef It's What's For Dinner mindset despite the fact that we've had beef for dinner maybe a total of, oh, a dozen times in the past 7 years of marriage, not counting when he stops at Scatchell's and buys Italian Beef sandwiches on the way home from his folks...)
3. on the other half, spread some of the yogurt cheese I made a couple of weeks ago, still perfectly good and fresh. (I don't do mayo; too fatty and the jarred stuff is too processed.  Yogurt or yogurt cheese gives the creaminess and tang without the fat content.)
4. grab the kitchen shears and head out to the patio, where I snip off 4 small lettuce leaves and a sprig of fresh tarragon, all of which I give a quick rinse and dry-pat to
5. put the lettuce on the meat side, quickly use the shears to chop-trim the tarragon over the yogurt cheese.
6. put the halves together and start munching

And realized it was quicker to cut and rinse the herb and lettuce than it would have been to open the tarragon jar and/or get a thing of lettuce out of the fridge.  And this is just May, less than 2 weeks after everything's planted--it'll grow and grow, and there'll be more all spring and summer.  And if I can keep the tarragon from flowering, it'll just keep bushing out and I can dry the herb for the winter, since I use it all the time...

This was an AMAZING sandwich.  Truly yummy.  Could only have been better if I'd cut the tarragon into the yogurt cheese several days ago and let it sit and steep (which I might to tonight with some of it; need to eat that yogurt cheese before it goes off!).  And if I had veggies, I'd've skipped the meat all together and just done tomato and zuke slices, maybe the yogurt cheese on one side and hummus on the other or something.  But it was GOOD.

Good fresh food, quick and easy, cheap (aside from initial startup costs, which admittedly this first year in a new home are considerable), gourmet-ish even, that I made/grew myself, and from which I didn't generate any more stupid plastic containers. 

A good day.
--J
greenmama: (Default)

No time. Today or tonight. Early dinner needed.

Time for the crockpot (and can I just link once again to crockpot563.blogspot.com, Stephanie the Crazy Crockpot Lady's site full of a gajillion really good recipes that also give one a whole helluva lot of basic learning about what one can and can't get away with?)...

Crockpot Green Chili:
--Throw in a few pounds of boneless skinless Chicken Parts (in my case, breasts, because I ran out of thighs.  Why does that happen in my freezer but never on my body?)
--Throw in whatever assortment of veggies pleases you. In my case, that's half a bag of Trader Joe cut up bell peppers and a medium sized diced onion.
--Throw over this 2 cans or so white beans, drained. (Or not. I always drain the beans, because someone once told me that most of the fart-producing things are in the juice)
--Throw over ALL of it a big jar of green salsa.

Put the crockpot on low until you get home from work. Make some rice or something to serve under it.

Now natch, this will work with lots of different meats, salsas, and/or beans.  Beef you have to be careful of unless you get the absolutely totally lean no fat in it kind, or else your chili will be swimming in grease.  I've never been one to bother with browning the meat first; why use the crockpot if you have to mess up another pot first? That's not of the speedymama gestalt.  

This is one of my standby "what the hell are we eating tonight" recipes.  Frozen chicken, veggies, a jar of Something from the pantry. Italian veggies and spaghetti sauce? Chicken Cacciatore. Shrooms and marsala sauce? Chicken Marsala.  Beans and salsa? Chili. The possibilities never end.

Which reminds me:
Crockpot Veggie Chili
Disclaimer: I haven't actually ever tried this one.  But it's in my brain for when (I hope) my garden explodes and I have to find something to do with all the veggies.

This is easier still: chop up a bunch of vegetables into bite-sized pieces: onion, peppers, summer squash, whatever. Fill the crockpot about half full with them. Throw a couple of cans of beans (or a bag of ones I pre-cooked in my crockpot last fall that have been sitting calmly in the freezer waiting for this happy day) in; if they are still frozen, no problem.  A bunch of cut up peeled tomatoes too, preferably de-seeded, or a big can of pre-diced, with juice. (Remember that a crockpot is happiest when it's 2/3-3/4 full.)

Throw a jar or two of salsa over this.  How hot would depend on how hot you want your chili and how hot the peppers you put in are--remember it'll dilute a LOT, but also remember that if you included habaneros in the "bunch of vegetables" category you'll want to be prepared!

Put the crockpot on low for a long time. I have no idea how long, honestly, but I'll report back later--a workday's worth of simmerage would probably be plenty. 

If anyone tries this before my garden does its thing, let me know how it goes!
--J

ETA on the green chili:  needed more veggies and less chicken, actually.  A second jar of salsa, a third can of beans.  More onions, more peppers, and actually more liquid. I also threw in about 2 tsp of ground cumin, which gave it a nice flavor...

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December 2012

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