Chicken a l’Orange with Quinoa

This is a simple, economical, nutritious recipe that I whipped up because we didn’t have any brown rice; quinoa is too blah to just dump mushroom soup on; so I looked in the refrigerator for alternatives. It turned out to be a refreshing change of pace. It is simple to throw together. Here goes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 Chicken Legs (Breasts would work just as well, if you prefer white meat)
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • ~3 T Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Oranges

In a medium sauce pan, toast the Quinoa in the Avocado Oil until aromatic, then add water, juice of one orange, and 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon and boil for at least five minutes, stirring often. Cover and turn off heat. Peel and segment two remaining oranges. Spread the Quinoa in a 10″ x 13″ baking pan. Lay the chicken pieces on top. Slice lengthwise and butterfly spread each segment of the oranges and place them on top of the chicken and the rice. Sprinkle remaining Cinnamon over the chicken. Add a few ounces of water to the pan. Bake at 375ᵒ for about an hour, until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ᵒ.

Serve it with a green vegetable of your choice or a salad, and you have a balanced meal. We had Brussels sprouts.

Poof da boona!

Pumpkin Gumbo

I have made several different pumpkin soups. This one was a real winner! I know this is not the season for it, but the scraps of paper I wrote the recipe on just percolated to the top of the pile, so here goes.

Take 1 large pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut it up and boil until soft in a stock pot. Remove pieces and puree in a food processor. Set aside.

Finely chop 1 large celeriac in food processor, then toss it into the stock pot to start simmering it in the reserved liquid from boiling the pumpkin.

Finely chop 1 fennel in food processor, including the fronds, and toss it into the stock pot.

Remove the stem from 1 eggplant, then finely chop it, peel and all, in the food procesor and throw into the pot.

Finely chop 3 leeks in food processor and throw it in the pot.

Slice 1 head celery and 1 pound okra in food processor and add to pot.

Add the pumpkin back to the pot.  Set it up double boiler style. Continue to stew.

In a large cast iron skillet brown ~3-1/2 lbs. of ground beef in 2 T olive oil.
Season it with 2 T salt, 1/2 T black pepper and 2 T basil
Add it to the pot and stir it in.

Add 2 t nutmeg, 2 t ground cloves, 2 t cinnamon and 2 T cocoa powder 

Stir regularly. Stew for a couple of hours. It serves a crowd in a very happy, healthy way!

pumpkins

 

 

Avocado Fried Rice

redriceThis is something I just whipped up this morning as a side dish for breakfast. It was so tasty, I made it for my main dish for lunch! It’s super easy. We had leftover red rice. It had been boiled with nutmeg in it to give it some added flavor. This morning, I put some sesame oil in the cast iron skillet and heated it up; cube a haas avocado and fry it in the oil, then add some olive oil, then add about  cup to a cup and a half of the red  rice. Fry it up on high heat, turning frequently, until it is the desired crunchiness or softness.

Bon Appetit!

Yellow Split Pea Ham Soup

A couple of weeks ago I made the best split pea, ham soup we had ever had. We had a shoulder ham with a good joint bone in it. I went to Assi Market (a Chinese supermarket) with my daughter and granddaughters to buy some seafood, gluten free noodles and green tea. Rather than making another stop, we looked for split peas there. The only selection they had was a four pound bag of large, yellow split peas. I normally use green, but these looked healthy, and convenient, so I went with them. This was the second stop. I had already picked up celeriac, onions, fennel, and garlic at Produce Junction.

Start with the Broth. In a 10 quart pot, simmer:

  • 1 ham bone
  • 1/2 celeriac, cut in chunks
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 2 tops & fronds of fennel
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Simmer until a nice aromatic broth is created. Strain the broth. Boil in the broth:

  • 2 pounds yellow split peas
  • 1 pound carrots, chopped extra fine in the Ninja
  • 1 large onion, chopped with the carrots in the Ninja
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed

Add ~1 Tablespoon turmeric and generous grinds of black pepper. Add cubed ham back to soup. Warm a bit longer. Serve. It is thick and hearty, and oh so tasty!

Mango Ginger Pork

The name is practically the recipe. It’s that simple!

Last night, we had failed to thaw meat for dinner, so I scoured the meat case for a bargain. I found a pack of about 3-1/2 lbs. of boneless pork loin cuts for $2.49/lb. I usually like to do these on the Weber Kettle charcoal grill to add that smoked flavor and keep them tender. It was a miserable rainy day. I had to get creative. I grabbed a box of Mango nectar on sale for 80 cents and we were good to go!

When I got home, I fired up the oven at 350º convection to start warming up. I got the 15″ cast iron skillet off the wall and heated it up with some olive oil coating the bottom. Then I barely seared the pork in it. I sprinkled a generous amount of ground ginger on top and poured as much of the liter of mango nectar as would fit in the pan; probably about half. I put this in the oven.

DSC02887Then I got out the rice cooker and put the Three Continent Grain blend into it with the appropriate amount of water a glug of olive oil and a half teaspoon of nutmeg. After the pork had baked for about 10 minutes, I turned on the rice. When the pork and rice were done, I heated peas. Pictured here, is broccoli. These are leftovers reheated for lunch. Yum! I get the grain mix at Costco, but I called the manufacturer. It can be obtained at Acme, SafeWay, BiLo, etc., all across the country. It’s great stuff, and far superior nutritionally than standard white or brown rice. (I usually don’t plug products. I should have arranged to get something for this.) You may find availability and more info at info@earthlychoice.com

The rubber ducky is on the table, because it was in the kitchen to get washed while I am painting the duck themed bathroom where it usually abides. There will be more about that in another article.

The pork was a huge hit! It was savory, juicy and tender. It was done in about 30 minutes. This is a salt-free recipe that won’t leave you looking for the salt shaker. The ginger gives it that snap! The mango gives it mystery. It’s not expected. Most will not guess it. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it’s good for you, too.

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Sweet Ginger Pepper Sausage Stir-fry

I can’t just leave well enough alone, as they say. When I am left to make dinner for the family, and there is one kind of meat thawed, by now, they are still expecting to be surprised. This night the meat was a pound of hickory smoked, 100% beef sausages from Shady Maple, Lancaster, PA. They were the size of 10″ long bratwurst. I cut them into 1″ to 3/4″ long pieces and started to heat them in a large, cast iron skillet in some olive oil. Immediately the quartered rings of a yellow onion were added, then the halved strips of a yellow, red and orange sweet peppers were added.

The heat is on. The juices are beginning to flow. But the dish lacks inspiration. So, I grab a bottle of ginger brandy and glug, glug, glug, glug. Yes. All four glugs into the pan, over the contents. Then I turn up the gas a little more. I go to the freezer and get out the frozen corn. I threw a couple handfuls of that into the pan. and stir that in. I keep cooking and stirring until the brandy has a chance to seep into everything a bit. Its alcohol is bubbling away, leaving sweetness and the ginger.

O man! It was good!

Quinoa Cocoa Cinnamon Avocado Mango

That’s about all you need to remember for this dish I created tonight. It was delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, no added sugar, and has chocolate.

cocoa-powderIngredients:

  • 3 cups organic quinoa
  • vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 6-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 4 Ataulfo mangos

In a large sauce pan, toast the quinoa in a thin layer of oil to bring out the flavor. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the water, cocoa & cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Pit & peel the avocados and dice into the pan. If they are ripe enough, wisk them into the slurry. Peel & dice the mangos & add them. Boil for about 6 minutes, then cover. Remove from heat and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer it to a suitable bowl or casserole dish for serving  and cover and put it into the refrigerator to chill.

It is mildly sweet and goes well with salad and/or soup.

Ku méejtech uutsil!

Pork Avocado Soup

HaxeNewIf you follow my recipes, you know I like pork and you know I like avocados. I put them together in my first time making pork soup. Pork tends to be really affordable. We got a great deal on a shank roast. We had it for dinner. There was plenty left over, and a good size bone with a joint. I stripped the meat off of the bone and stewed it with a Spanish onion, cut in half, for half a day, in about 5 quarts of water with about a Tablespoon of turmeric, in a 10 quart sauce pan. I discarded the onion and the bone, and refrigerated the broth overnight.

Ingredients:

  • Broth in 10 quart sauce pan
  • 6 carrots sliced thin
  • 1 leek diced, including green leaves
  • 8 or 9 radishes quartered
  • large handful of fresh kale, chopped
  • ~ 8 sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 4 ounces pea shoots, chopped
  • 2 large Hass avocados peeled & diced
  • ~ 1/2″ fresh ginger grated
  • 15 twists medium grind black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground sage
  • ~ 1 pound pork diced small, including fat portions
  • water to almost fill pot

Basically, heat up the broth and start chopping and adding the ingredients in order and stew. It makes a great soup! It’s healthy , too, for an Atkins diet.

“I Like Ike” Pork Tenderloin

Dwight Eisenhower, Mamie EisenhowerWhen President Dwight David Eisenhower was running for re-election in 1956, he came to Minnesota. My parents were GOP state committee persons. At the parade that was held to welcome Ike, I was presented to him. He kissed me and held me high in the air! Of course, I was just a little more than a year old at the time. I still have the rhinestone IKE brooch my mom was wearing for the occasion. My mom had a hand signed, black and white photograph of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower sitting in the rose garden of the Whitehouse, in a brass frame, sitting on her dresser next to her bed for four decades, until she passed away. I have several “I Like Ike” buttons, even one in Norwegian. I did say I’m from Minnesota after all. Ike dreamed big. More importantly, he led a nation who was tired of war to dream big, and to work together for some things that were bigger than themselves.

Ike had seen Hitler’s Autobahn and envisioned the Interstate Highway system to knit our country together as one nation as it had never been before. He witnessed the scourge of polio and mobilized free, universal immunizations for every child in America to wipe out this crippling disease. He wanted to go further and have universal healthcare for children. Schools and universities were built and a generation of veterans and their children were educated, thanks to a progressive income tax and a high corporate income tax. The middle class was established and the war debt was paid off. It seems we have now lost that spirit of bold cooperation for anything other than endless warfare. Ike warned us about that as well when he told us to beware of the military industrial complex. Well, I have gone on long enough. What does this have to do with a recipe?

I got to thinking what to call this and it hit me that this would have been impossible without Ike’s input and vision. It would have been impossible when I was a child. I was able to go to the grocery store and buy all of these ingredients for reasonable prices thanks to Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system. So here goes.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1/4 cup lard
  • ~ 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • ~ 1 cubic inch ginger root, peeled & finely chopped or grated
  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeds removed & cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled & cut up
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & diced
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh, baby spinach (1 Dole salad bag)

Slice the tenderloin into 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick medallions. rub it down with the turmeric and the mustard. Heat up the lard in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. I used our 13″ one. It was full by the time I was done. You are going to need sides. Start cooking the pork the onion and the ginger root in the lard. Let it cook for a bit, turning frequently. You don’t want to carmelize the meat. You want it tender, not crunchy. As you prep the fruits, add them to the skillet. Stir the mixture, so nothing burns. The only thing that should have carmelized would be the onions. You can put a lid on it to help hold the moisture and the heat in to help cook the meat and reduce the heat to medium. Slice the meat open to test for doneness. If it is about done, crumble the Gorgonzola on top of the mixture and cover for a few minutes, reducing the flame to low. Rip up the spinach and pile it on top. Replace the cover. Turn off the stove. Just let the steam and heat from the cast iron pan and the other ingredients cook the spinach. Serve.

It makes six servings. It took about half an hour to make. It is a one pan meal. It is super interesting! It has so many different flavor notes and textures. It is the rare recipe in which I did not use garlic or pepper. The ginger provided enough heat. I preferred it in little chunks rather than grated so it would surprise the tongue now and again. The kiwi are an element of whimsy. Each serving may get just a tiny bit of it. It wakes up the palate with a bit of tartness. The cheese melts in with the fruit and meat juices to form this uniquely luscious sauce. When I was all done, I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it to get the last gooey drop of it.

Bethann and Hilary told me I could definitely make that again. It is gluten free, low carb, and includes two super foods.

Cranford Cleans Up Nicely

Apologies to those of you who are starting the fast today. We cannot fast due to health limitations. I have to avoid drastic changes in diet in order to prevent migraines that cause strokes. I also need to avoid grains and gluten and limit carb intake.  This recipe happened this evening, since Bethann was busy finishing a peppermint swirl dress, and could not break away to cook. I used ingredients I found in the refrigerator, cleaning up odds and ends. Bethann had started to thaw about a pound of 80% lean ground beef. It was still pretty frozen when I put it in the cast iron skillet. That worked pretty well. It allowed enough time for me to cut the other ingredients and for them to cook, without overcooking the beef.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 small, sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 Gala or other sweet apple, peeled & diced
  • ~ 10 radishes, finely diced
  • 4 portabella mushrooms, diced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • a generous pinch of ground ginger
  • a generous pinch of ground mustard
  • a generous pinch of ground turmeric
  • 5 twists of black pepper
  • ~ 3 ounces of feta cheese

Start to fry the ground beef in a large cast iron skillet. Flip it and scrape it as needed to break it up and continue thawing it and cooking it, while slicing the other ingredients. As the ingredients are cut up, add them to the skillet. Add the spices. Keep turning and mixing the ingredients. When all of the vegetables are tender and the beef is cooked, crumble the cheese on top of the mixture and cover until melted. Serve.

It was delicious!