I cooked a ham for Christmas dinner this year. When I cook ham, I usually buy a very small boneless ham because only two of us will eat it. This year I bought a bigger, semi-boneless ham. It was actually less expensive than a smaller ham, but now I have tons of leftover ham. I’ll freeze some and then get creative with the rest. This should be interesting. : )
Lentil Soup with Ham
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
8 cups chicken(or vegetable) broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup of ham, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the dried lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the diced ham and zucchini and cook until the lentils have reached the desired level of tenderness, 10 to 20 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia. There are a gabillion different variations of it. Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth. Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu. This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online. It’s not all that authentic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found in most American grocery stores.
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or about 1 tablespoon of ginger paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sambal olek (sriracha can be substituted)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sambal olek (or sriracha). Add the broth and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk. Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season to taste with the fish sauce, about 1 tablespoon.
Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).
Once or twice a year, I am able to get sausage super cheap at Publix by pairing coupons with a sale (BOGO). I have been using http://www.southernsavers.com to match coupons with sales for years now. I think the website/app is a wonderful tool to help save lots of money. It certainly helps me stick to my grocery budget.
By getting the sausage for a steal, I was able to make this batch of Jambalaya with Sausage for under $5. Thrifty. It’s a super easy recipe that makes plenty to have again another day.
Using the frozen vegetable seasoning blend is very convenient and helps get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. Great for a weekday meal.
Jambalaya with Sausage
12 ounce package rope sausage (I used Hillshire Farms Beef Smoked Sausage, but Andouille sausage would be perfect)
10 ounce package frozen vegetable seasoning blend (I used Publix brand with onions, celery, sweet red & green peppers, and parsley)
4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
2 cups long-grained white rice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon your favorite Cajun seasoning mix (homemade or store-bought)
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
Slice the sausage into 1/4-inch slices. Cook over medium-high heat in a large soup pot until evenly browned. Remove the sausage and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Add the frozen vegetable seasoning blend to the hot sausage drippings. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning mix, and cayenne to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low. Cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender and all the liquid has cooked out. Fluff with a fork and serve.
I bought a spiralizer at a school fundraiser yard sale for $1 and now that it is summer and zucchini is pleniful, it’s a perfect time to use it to make zoodles (zucchini noodles).
I haven’t had much luck with growing zucchini in my garden. This year, I planted some zucchini in a bucket on my deck and so far have only gotten 2 zucchini from it. They were kind of funky-looking, but tasted great as zoodles.
I have worked on perfecting my Peanut Sauce for years and I think I have finally nailed it. This stuff is great on all kinds of noodles (rice noodles, spaghetti, zoodles, etc…) and as a sauce for grilled chicken (think Satay) and Summer Rolls.
The Peanut Sauce recipe includes a paste made from a clove of garlic. This is an excellent tutorial on how to make garlic paste with a knife. This is how I do it:
Zoodles with Peanut Sauce
Special tool needed: spiralizer
1 tablespoon (or less) of mild-tasting oil (I used canola)
4 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
1 carrot, peeled and grated
prepared Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spiralized zucchini and shredded carrots and cook, tossing often with tongs, until tender (but not mushy). Turn off the heat and add the peanut sauce to the zoodles. Toss to coat. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts. Can be eaten warm or cold.
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced and made into a paste with the side of the knife’s blade (see tutorial video above)
1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha
juice of 1/2 lime
warm water (about 1/2 cup)
Combine the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic past, sriracha, and lime juice. Add water, a little at a time, until you reach a somewhat thick, but pourable consistency. You want it just so that it coasts the noodles but isn’t too thick or too thin. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.
Day 12 of LID. I won’t lie, I am sick of being on this low iodine diet. It is easier, in a way, this time, but that doesn’t change the fact it is a soul-crusher.
I had some time to bake this morning and I used my Easy White Bread recipe to create these Cinnamon Rolls. I was really, really happy with the results. These are quite possibly the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made. They definitely lifted my spirits.
For the dough:
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 – 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
enough water to make a thick, but pourable icing
Put the dough ingredients into a bread machine in the order given. The yeast should be the last ingredient going into the bread machine. Set the machine to the dough setting and press start. Let the machine do the mixing and kneading for you. Once the machine is finished, turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. The dough will probably be sticky. Knead the dough a couple of times, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out evenly into a rectangle that is about 9 X 13 inches. Spread the Earth Balance spread evenly over the top of the rolled out dough. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and spread evenly over the Earth Balance spread. Starting at the shorter side, roll up the dough. Pinch the seam to close. Slice into 12 even slices. Spray a 9 X 9-inch square baking pan or a 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray and place the slices in the pan. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little water at a time until you get a thick, but pourable consistency. Drizzle evenly over the cinnamon rolls.
This is a recipe I posted on my other blog last night. I’m on a low iodine diet for 2 1/2 weeks to prepare my body for a tracer dose of radioactive iodine and a nuclear whole body scan to check for possible recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’m looking forward to a clear scan.
The thyroid is gland that absorbs iodine from one’s diet and uses it to make hormones that are used by the rest of the body. Certain types of thyroid cancers mimic healthy thyroid tissue and also absorb iodine. Because of that characteristic, certain thyroid cancers can be treated successfully with radioactive iodine. By eating a low iodine diet, the thyroid and certain thyroid cancers are starved of iodine. When the radioactive iodine is ingested, the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissues gobble up the iodine with radiation attached. In a large, therapeutic dose the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissue is killed. In lower, tracer doses it allows for a scan that shows where the radioactive iodine was taken up. They are able to see if there is a recurrence of thyroid cancer (or regrowth of healthy thyroid tissue).
On the low iodine diet (LID), you can not eat iodized salt, sea salt, dairy, egg yolks, soy (soy oil and soy lecithin are fine), seafood, sea products (seaweed, carrageenan), certain dough conditioners, and red dye #3 or any foods that contain these ingredients. You can only have 5 – 6 ounces of meat per day. This diet is a challenge, but each time I have to do it, it gets easier. Only 12 more days to go.
When I am on LID, I eat these Baked Chicken Taquitos with LID-safe salsa and avocado “cream” (avocado blended with lime juice and kosher salt until smooth).
If you are not on LID, you can add cheese to the chicken mixture. You can also add other ingredients such as roasted chile peppers, kale, spinach, etc…
These taquitos freeze really well, but they have to be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) to maintain crispiness. They get soft and chewy when reheated in the microwave.
Baked Chicken Taquitos
1 whole chicken
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup salsa
Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 -4 hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and let cool. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones (unless you plan to make chicken stock.…in that case, reserve). Shred the chicken. You should have about 6 cups of shredded chicken meat.
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and salsa to the shredded chicken. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper, if needed. Mix to combine.
Place 4 corn tortillas on a large microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds to soften tortillas. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on bottom third of the warmed corn tortilla. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Don’t roll too tight. Place the taquito on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is used. You will have approximately 18 taquitos. Use two baking sheets if you need to. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, turning after the 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Remove the toothpick before serving.
I don’t get take-out from Chinese restaurants often, but when I do, Chop Suey is one of my favorite menu items to order. Chop Suey usually consists of shredded veggies and a protein in a lighter sauce. It’s actually easy enough to make at home.
Chicken Chop Suey
2 handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms (about 6 large or 12 small)
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins, sliced
1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly slivered
1/4 head green cabbage (Napa is great too), thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
Hot rice, to serve
Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until rehydrated, about 20 minutes. Remove stems and thinly slice. Throw out the soaking liquid.
Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Add the sliced chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. Empty into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok place back over high heat. Add the onion, cabbage, carrots, and celery and stir fry until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots, reserved sliced shiitake mushrooms, and reserved chicken. Cook a few minutes longer. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the chop suey is heated through.
Serve with hot rice.