July 28, 2011

Vegetable Stew with Turkey

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Vegan Family Meals from Saraplicious! Kitchen.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am the FARTHEST thing from a vegan that there is, but I was really excited about this book as a chance to learn how to make veggies tasty.  Both The Husband and I are focusing a lot more on our diet and getting the proper amount of veggies is usually a struggle.  If this recipe is anything to go by, I think our struggles might be over!

As soon as the book showed up in the mail, I was off to the grocery store.  I decided to try a variation (meat good!) on the book's South American Veggie Stew.  One of the best things about this recipe is how simple it was to make.  I didn't have to spend hours chopping and dicing, or prowl through six stores to find some weird ingredient.  Easy-peasy, and amazingly delicious!  The dried fruit gives the whole thing a sweetness that I never would have expected.  So, here is my decidedly non-vegan variation on Ms. Gentry's theme.


6 dried apricots, chopped
6 dried plums, chopped
2 c warm water
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can plain diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
a handful of baby red potatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c corn
1 can kidney beans
Roasted turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
pepper to taste

Soak the dried fruit in the water for 3-24 hours.  Strain, reserving both fruit and liquid.  Heat the olive oil in a pot and sautee garlic and onion until translucent.  Add tomatoes and sauce, stirring well.  Cook for three minutes, then add the potatoes and the liquid from the fruit.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the bell pepper is tender.

July 27, 2011

Gazpacho My Way

Here's the HH6 challenge for July: Since it's getting hotter and hotter as we head into full summer, the challenge is to cook a meal without using heat - oven, stove, microwave, anything.  Bonus points if your meal isn't a salad!

The first thing I thought of making was ceviche.  Unfortunately, we're in the desert now, and the only fish I could find was, well, trash.  I knew this would happen, but really, when I saw the local commissary marketing snow crab legs as king crab, I was still shocked!  So, ceviche was out.  Then my husband suggested gazpacho.

Now, mind you, I have never tasted gazpacho.  The Husband, on the other hand, spent a significant amount of time in the sandbox with the Spanish.  He sang so many praises of this dish that I decided to give it a try!

Upon tasting it, though, he declared that this was "not really gazpacho" but that it was still "very good," which he proved by downing copious amounts of it, so I guess I'll chalk this one up in the win category.

Hint: it's also delicious on toasted bread!


3 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
dash cumin
a bit of cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 can jalapeno diced tomatoes

Place all ingredients except diced tomatoes in food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Still in tomatoes and chill for at least four hours.

July 25, 2011

Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Crema

I. Love. Mexican. Food.  Soooo much.  After a fair amount of time spent in a location which does not have any real Mexican food (if it doesn't involve corn tortillas and cilantro, how can you call it a taco?), I'm binging a bit.  Unfortunately, my wallet does not love me going out to this taco wagon or that hole-in-the-wall every day.  The answer?  Make my own!  This recipe from David Lebovitz took half a day to make, but boy was it worth it!  As an added bonus, the crema is fat-free and I was shocked to find out how much less fat is in a corn tortilla compared to flour!


1 pork butt or shoulder
2 T olive oil
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t chili powder
1 t ancho powder
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic
2 T fresh cilantro

1 c fat-free Dannon yogurt
Coffee filter
juice from 1/2 lime
1 T fresh cilantro
1/2 minced ancho chili

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut the pork into large pieces and brown in the oil.  Drain in paper towels, then place the pieces into a roasting pan.  Cover with drippings and herbs, then add water to about halfway up the pork.  Roast uncovered for 3 hours, turning pieces several times.

Meanwhile, fold the coffee filter over the mouth of a large cup.  Put yogurt into the filter and let drain for 3 hours.

Remove pieces and shred coarsely with a fork.  Return to pan and oven, roasting again until pork is crispy.

Back to the yogurt!  Put in small bowl, discarding whey, and stir in the cilantro, lime, and ancho.

Serve carnitas in corn tortillas, topped with crema.  Enjoy!

July 10, 2011

No Guilt Peach "Cheese"cake

If you're anything like me, you love to eat.  Delicious, delicious things.  And, if you're anything like me, you also wouldn't mind losing a few pounds.  But the real question is can you do both?  Well, this dessert can help!  It doesn't taste quite like "real" cheesecake, but it's certainly close enough to satisfy the craving.  At about 1/3 the calories and practically no fat, it's a great trade off!


32 oz fat-free Dannon yogurt (don't use Yoplait!)
Coffee filters or cheesecloth
Grahm cracker crumbs
1 can peaches
2 T quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 c honey
1 t vanilla
2 T arrowroot powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
6 T egg white beaters (or two eggs)

The day before, strain the yogurt using either coffee filters or cheesecloth.  Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours to completely strain.  Discard liquid.

Mix the grahm cracker crumbs with a bit of water and press them into the bottom and sides of your cheesecake pan.  Chill the pan.

Preheat oven to 325.

Drain the peaches, reserving juice.  Mix juice and tapioca in a saucepan, cooking over low until just thickened (3-5 minutes).

In a large bowl, begin mixing together the strained yogurt, honey, vanilla, arrowroot and cinnamon.  Carefully stir in the tapioca mixture and finally the egg mixture.

Pour half the batter into the pan.  Layer half the peaches, sliced thinly, on the batter, then top with the remaining batter and peaches.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake for 60 minutes, then chill for several hours.

July 5, 2011

Burrito Skins

I dearly love Mexican food.  One thing that is not bad about living in Mos Eisely is that there is actual, authentic Mexican here.  Yum!  Of course, we've been eating out a lot, so I'm trying to do more at home with Mexican flavors.  Cilantro in particular - I've only really had it dried before and fresh is soooo much better!

This here is a play on potato skins.  Use any pepper or chili you'd like for the base.  The Husband is a bit of a wimp so I used pasillas.  The meat can also be swapped out for anything.  In fact, the whole thing is pretty customizable!


2-4 pasilla peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 can pinto beans, drained
2 c brown rice, cooked
1 c carnitas, pulled pork, etc
1/4 c salsa (home made is best, of course)
fresh cilantro
shredded cheese

Roast the peppers at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the other ingredients (except cheese) in a skillet, stirring together until well blended and warmed.  Stuff each pepper half with as much filling as it will hold.  Top with shredded cheese and more cilantro.  Bake an additional 30 minutes.