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Recipe

Todd’s healthier Independence Day potato salad

I’ve been trying to cook and eat healthier the past few months, to help support Brooke and me losing some weight. It’s been working, and I’ve been continually challenged to make lower-calorie versions of food I like that don’t taste like crap.

So, when my box of pre-selected produce from the farmers market had potatoes, I knew I had a challenge ahead of me. Potatoes are exactly what I should not be eating. They have almost no nutritional value, and are high in carbohydrates, something I should avoid as a diabetic. With Independence Day coming up, I set my thinking toque toward making some potato salad. Here’s the result.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 dill pickle spear, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 T chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 package of fresh dill, chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

After dicing the potatoes, cook them in boiling water for about 10 or 12 minutes. Meanwhile, chop all the veggies.

Throw everything except the potatoes (which are still cooking, duh) into a bowl and stir it all together.

Once the potatoes are done, run them under cold water in a colander.

Diced potatoes chilling in a colander

After they’ve cooled mostly, throw those into the bowl, and stir everything around to coat the potatoes. Put it all in the fridge for an hour to let everything mingle and chill. Stir again, then serve.

Everything mixed together, ready for refrigeration to occur

This recipe makes three American size servings, perfect for the 4th of July with your sweetheart and some leftovers. Scale it up as needed.

This has about 1/3 the calories as store-bought potato salad for servings that are twice as big. I call that a success.

The end result, plated

Happy birthday, USA.

Categories
Recipe

green chile stew

I’m doing some digital spring cleaning, going through a bunch of random old notes on my computer. And I came across part of a recipe for green chile stew that I made up to reflect what I was making. This was meant to emulate the green chile stew I had at the View Restaurant at the Monument Valley visitor center.

The thing is, I didn’t really write a full recipe, just a list of ingredients. I do that a lot, since usually they’re just to jog my memory later, and how to put the ingredients together is pretty obvious. Hopefully it’ll be obvious to you, too.

If I ever wrote down details, it would be things like “add enough cumin for it to taste good” or “cook it until it looks and smells right”. Do you cook the same way?

Here’s the list:

  • 4 pounds lamb roast cut into stew chunks, browned
  • Chopped white onion
  • Hominy
  • Chopped roasted green chiles
  • Chicken broth
  • Beef broth
  • Diced canned tomatoes
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 2 large potatoes
  • Ground red chile
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • 6 cloves garlic
Categories
Recipe

spicy peanut sauce

I’m experimenting with PB2 powdered peanut butter today. Here’s my first recipe, for some spicy peanut sauce. This would go well on chicken tenders.

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter - 6.5oz : Target

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter powder
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar

Put it in a bowl and stir it all together. There’s not much to it.

Note: If you don’t like spicy food, use only half a tablespoon of sriracha instead.

Here is what it looks like
Categories
Recipe

chocolate pizza

One nice thing about being out of work is I have lots more time to experiment in the kitchen. A few days ago I made “two-ingredient dough” for the first time. I made two batches, enough to make homemade bagels one day, with lots left over for another day. Today was that other day, and I decided to try some sort of somewhat low calorie dessert.

I’m doing WW right now, formerly called Weight Watchers, to lose some weight, and didn’t want a dessert that would blow my responsible eating out of the water for the day.

Going through a bunch of options in my mind, I decided to make a sort of pastry with a thick dark chocolate filling. I’m now calling it a chocolate pizza.

I rolled the dough out and then made a little lip around the edges, thinking that would help keep the chocolate topping contained (I was wrong, and it was irrelevant).

The crust being formed

Then I beat an egg and brushed it on the dough to make it look nice and shiny. Then I put that in the oven at 425.

Meanwhile, for the topping, I put the following into my food processor and mixed it all into a wonderful paste the consistency of mousse, and the flavor of dark chocolate.

  • 2 bananas, previously frozen, now thawed in the microwave
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (not cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
The filling/topping

After a while (15+ minutes), the crust started to brown and I thought it looked like it was ready. Baking made the crust poof up, so the lip around the edges that I made turned out to be totally useless and lost.

The baked crust

Next, I chilled the crust in the freezer a few minutes to bring it down to room temperature, because my chief taste tester was in a hurry to get home so she could do her online Jazzercise class.

After the crust chilled enough, I spread the topping on, and then cut it into 8 pieces. They look something like this.

Fully assembled and cut into pieces

They were tastier even than I had hoped, and the dark chocolate topping is so rich! I did the math, and each serving is only 3 SmartPoints.

Categories
Food Recipe

muffin tin omelets

When I have time, some weekends I make muffin tin omelets, also sometimes called no-crust quiche. It makes it easy for me to have a high protein, low carb breakfast throughout the week. In the past, I’ve used a fairly shallow muffin tin. But that makes muffin tin omelets that aren’t quite enough to satisfy me, while eating two of them is too much food for breakfast. So I decided I needed a larger size muffin tin. Last time I visited my parents, I learned Mom had a spare! So I took it home with me.

Like my old one, the new tin holds 6 muffins, but each one is much deeper. Today, I finally had time to make some muffin tin omelets again. If you’ve never made these, you should try it sometime. You can find a ton of recipes online, so I’m not going to give you all the details, but here is the general idea.

I usually grease the muffin tin with coconut oil, since I don’t ever have shortening (or lard). Supposedly it’s better for you than vegetable oil or butter.

Today, the things I put in were:

  • some leftover BBQ brisket, chopped
  • one red bell pepper, chopped and sauteed in the fat from the brisket
  • one roma tomato I got from the farmer’s market two weeks ago and realized I better use before it’s too late
  • cheddar/jack cheese blend
  • 9 eggs – so each omelet is 1.5 eggs
  • some milk – don’t ask me how much, I don’t measure stuff, that’s not how I cook
  • salt, black pepper, umami pepper

What, you don’t know about umami pepper? I found this thing on a “if we can’t sell it, we’re just going to throw it out” rack at Safeway a couple years ago and it was the most wonderful discovery.

Then I baked it until it looked good to me. That turned out to be 30 minutes at 350 degrees. And here is the result:

muffin tin omelets

They sure look good, but I already ate lunch, so I’ll save these for later.

I had a bit of trouble getting them out of the muffin tin, maybe I need to coat the pan with something greasier next time. Or cook them inside of muffin cups.

Categories
Food Recipe

Todd’s Instant Pot pork green chile, attempt #1

Like a lot of people in Colorado, I like green chile. Denver is a 9 hour drive from Hatch, New Mexico, but we’re close enough to be in the orbit of Hatch chiles. So when I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, I decided to try to use it to make pork green chile.

The green chiles I got were a gift from a friend who bought a bushel and did all the prep work (thanks, KY!) so I just have a pile of quart-size Ziploc baggies of green chiles ready to use. This batch is a bit on the spicy side, I found, hotter than Anaheims. Maybe they’re Big Jims. I don’t honestly know.

Full green chiles, roasted and prepped

My experience wasn’t perfect, and during the process, I realized a fundamental truth I’d never thought much about. Colorado-style green chile sauce that you’d use to put on a burrito or eggs is a lot spicier than Colorado-style green chile that you eat like soup with tortillas. My original goal was to make the former, but I ended up with the latter. Next time I’ll do it differently, I think. Here goes with the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds of pork shoulder, diced
  • 1 quart bag of prepped green chiles
  • 6 tomatillos
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano (a totally different plant than European oregano)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground dried New Mexico chile
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 32 ounce (weight) chicken broth, plus 2 more cups of broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • corn starch

De-husk, wash, and cut up the tomatillos, garlic, and onion. Blend them together in a blender.

This is about the right amount of onion, tomatillo, and pork to use.

Dice the pork and dice the green chiles (separately).

Set the Instant Pot for Sauté, add 1 TB of oil, and brown the pork.

Add the blended stuff, the green chiles, the chicken broth, the tomatoes, and the spices. Seal the IP and set for pressure cook High for 75 minutes. Yes, 75 minutes. You want the pork to be so soft it melts in your mouth. When it’s done, let the steam do the “natural release” for another 30 minutes.

First look after opening the Instant Pot lid
Before thickening

Switch the Instant Pot back to Sauté. Make a slurry of corn starch and water, and slowly add enough, stirring into the soup to thicken it up.

Once it seems thick enough, serve it up with warm flour tortillas.

You can also use this to smother burritos and eggs, but my taste buds say it’s not spicy enough for that.

Green chile turns a plain bean burrito into a yummy meal

Categories
Food Recipe

Todd’s cranberry ginger relish recipe

Todd’s Cranberry Ginger Relish Recipe

This started as a recipe I found online and made for Thanksgiving sometime around 2000, and I’ve made it several times since then, slightly simplifying and improving it along the way. It’s fresh, vegan, gluten-free, and tasty. It requires no cooking, unlike Martha Stewart’s similar recipe.

Ingredients

Cranberries

Buy one 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries. Here’s the kind I’ve used most often:

Note that if you can’t find fresh cranberries, in a pinch you can make this using two small cans of whole berry cranberry sauce instead. Just dump the cranberries into a colander and rinse off all the gelatin and sauce and stuff, so you only have the berries left.

Apple

You just need one apple. It’s best to use a sweet variety, because the sweetness of the apple is going to help cut the tartness of the cranberries.

Ginger Root

You need one medium size ginger root, as fresh as possible. It should be about the size of three of your fingers, like this:

Sugar and Water

Regular table sugar. You’ll only need a tablespoon or two, depending on your preference of how sweet you want the relish. The sweeter the apple, the less sugar you need. And some tap water.

Preparation

First, rinse the cranberries and discard any bad ones.

Peel and rinse the ginger; if you don’t know the trick about how to peel ginger easily, watch this video.  Cut the ginger up into one inch chunks.

Rinse, peel, and core the apple. Then cut it into one inch chunks.

Put the ginger, cranberries, apple, one tablespoon of sugar, and a half cup of water into your food processor. Pulse it all to chop everything up to the consistency of relish, because this is relish! If it’s not blending nicely, add a little more water. Be careful not to blend it too much or it will become more of a sauce than a relish.

Once it looks nice, taste it. If it’s too tart for your tastes, add a little more sugar and blend it all together very briefly. Then taste again, and add more sugar if needed. (If you screw up and add too much sugar by accident, add a tiny bit of lemon juice to bring it back to the tart side. Nobody will know.)

When it gets to be not too tart but not too sweet, you’re done. Pour it into a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or more (overnight is fine), for the flavors to blend together. Stir before serving.

If you have more than you need, spoon some of it into a plastic container to freeze. Freezing and thawing doesn’t really hurt the consistency, I know from experience.

Categories
Food Recipe

Todd’s makeshift mocha latte recipe

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe. Well, actually, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. But it’s time for a recipe.

I like coffee. And I occasionally like chocolate. But I prefer good coffee and dark chocolate. Also, I don’t have an espresso machine at home, so I can’t make a real mocha latte. But with a little experimentation I’ve found a way to make a coffee+chocolate drink at home that’s just as good as a mocha latte.

It’s really a mix of two things – strong coffee and strong chocolate.

Chocolate

In whatever mug you’re going to drink it from, mix about 3/4 cup of half-and-half with 2 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate powder. Microwave this for 30 seconds, and stir. You don’t want it getting too hot, of course, but it needs to be hot enough so the half-and-half dissolves the chocolate. If you need to nuke it longer, go for it.

Coffee

While the sipping chocolate cools, make one Aeropress full of coffee concentrate, using whatever your favorite beans are. Every Aeropress user has a slightly different technique. Did you know there’s an annual competition to see who can make the best coffee from an Aeropress? There is. The technique I use came from one of the winners of that contest.

I use the inverted Aeropress method with roughly 17g freshly ground coffee and 190 F tap water. I stir for 10 seconds, then let it steep for another 60 seconds. I prefer Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans, and use a metal mesh instead of the paper filters that come with the Aeropress.

If you’ve never used an Aeropress, you should get one. It makes better coffee than any other method except a pro-grade espresso machine, and cleans up easily. The coffee that comes out of it is stronger than most coffee, so most people dilute it with 25% to 50% hot water. But for this recipe, we’re not going to dilute it at all.

After the 60 seconds is up, press the coffee concentrate out into your mug with the cocoa concentrate. Now stir them together, and enjoy.

The richness of the half-and-half (instead of milk) and the concentrated coffee flavor make this drink not taste like the sickly sweet mochas you find at some coffee shops.

 

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Food Recipe

adobo chicken, borracho beans, and cilantro rice

I had some problems with our pressure cooker last night.  But once I got it working right, what emerged was pretty awesome.  I had it for lunch today and thought I should write down the recipe.  So here goes.

The dish is made out of three main parts, and I’ll address each of those separately although you can make them somewhat in parallel.

Cilantro Rice

The easiest part is cilantro rice.  Take 2 cups of dry sushi rice and steam it in a rice maker.  Chop 1/2 to 3/4 of a bunch of cilantro, and mix it in, along with a little salt to taste.

Adobo Chicken

Start with 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on).  Put them in a big plastic bag with some adobo seasonings.  I use Goya brand.  I think it’s made of mainly salt, garlic powder, and onion powder though I’m not exactly sure.

Shake the chicken around so the pieces have some seasoning all over.

Then, grill the chicken thighs over direct flame.  Feel free to burn the skin, because you’re going to remove it anyhow.  Once the chicken is cooked, take it off the grill and let it rest a little.  After cooling some, remove the skin and discard it.

Borracho Beans

Chop a yellow onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic.  Heat some cooking oil in the bottom of a pressure cooker to high heat.  Throw in the onion and garlic and fry them up.

Meanwhile, measure out 2 cups of dried pinto beans.  Once the garlic and onion are nicely fried, toss in the beans.  Then add 4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, some salt (not too much), a half cup of spicy salsa, and a bottle of crappy “Mexican” beer like Corona.

Put the chicken thighs on top of all this, seal up the pressure cooker, and let everything come to a boil.  Once it does, turn down the heat to low and let it all cook for 90 minutes or so.

To Serve

Once the borracho beans are cooled enough to open the lid of pressure cooker, get a bowl ready.  In the bowl, lay down a layer of cilantro rice.  Then, on top of that, put a layer of the bean mixture.  And then a little grated cheddar cheese.  Then some of the chopped tomato.  Finally, put one of the chicken thighs on the very top.

The chicken is going to be nearly falling off the bone at this point because it’s so tender, so be careful that it doesn’t just disintegrate on the way from the crock pot to your bowl.

And now, enjoy!

Categories
Food Recipe

Todd’s brown rice pilaf

Here’s a recipe I just made up this evening and it was very tasty. I served it with Orange Hazelnut Asparagus and some fresh grilled tuna.

Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

2 cups brown rice

3 green onions

1/2 red bell pepper

1 medium carrot

1/2 cup fresh pineapple

3 fresh mushrooms

10 macadamia nuts

1 Tbsp soy sauce

Preparation

Wash the rice and cook in a steamer. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Chop the green onions, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and pineapple . Shred and then chop the carrot. Toast the macadamia nuts, and then chop them up in a food processor.

Once the rice is done, pour it into a baking dish. Mix in all the other ingredients except the soy sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take off the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Stir it up, right before serving. Drizzle the soy sauce over the top.
Makes 4 servings.

Note: My original plan was to add a small can of diced green chiles and 3 Tbsp of uncooked canned peas. But I got distracted making the fish and forgot to throw those in the baking dish.