Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘gluten-free’

I’ve been curious about breakfast quinoa and tried a few recipes that really were not that good.  This is my favorite and it’s simple to make.  It’s a great high-protein alternative to warm oatmeal in the morning.  One of my two boys like this!  Top with fresh fruit and/or nuts or nothing at all.

Breakfast Quinoa

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living.

Breakfast Quinoa
 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole or low-fat milk, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

  2. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.

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This is a fun meal to serve if you are having people over since everyone can assemble their own carnitas to their liking.  You can make the braised pork ahead of time (or the day before).  My neighbor Karen told me about a great local Hispanic market “Chavez” where I buy freshly made guacamole, salsas, and queso fresco to accompany the carnitas.  I also serve shredded cabbage (green and/or purple), sour cream, lime wedges, fresh corn cut off the cob, and chopped cilantro on the side.  I like to use white corn & wheat tortillas and my friend O’Neal taught me how to warm them up: simply place directly on top of your gas burner over medium heat for about 10 seconds per side and flip over with your hands.  Tortillas should be warmed and slightly browned.  Cover in tin foil until ready to serve.

This is the caption here.

Recipe on blog by David Lebovitz (adapted from his cookbook The Sweet Life in Paris.)

Carnitas

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 4-5-pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
  • water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly-sliced

Directions:

1. Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1- to 3-days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat in the next step.)

2. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.

3. Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel, then pour in about a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the tasty brown bits.

4. Heat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.

5. Add the pork back to the pan and add enough water so the pork pieces are 2/3rd’s submerged in liquid. Add the cinnamon stick and stir in the chile powders, bay leaves, cumin and garlic.

7. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.

8. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish.

9. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized. It will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want them.

I like mine deeply, darkly, crispy brown on the outside.

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I don’t know about you, but I always seem to mess up rice!  I know it’s a simple thing to cook, but if you are off on something (size of the pot, amount of the water, level of heat, cooking time, etc.) you can be left with a sticky mess or burnt rice.  I’m so bad at cooking rice, that  lot of times I resort to (don’t tell!) Boil-in-a-bag Success Rice, but that’s not as good for you.  We are supposed to be eating slow-cooked foods — and choosing whole grains over white.  So, I was over-the-moon when I tried Gwyneth’s recipe for Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice.  Just like it promises, your rice will turn out beautifully and it does keep well in the fridge for a few days.

Perfectly Cooked Brown RicePerfectly Cooked Brown Rice

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good

Makes 3 cups

1 cup short-grain brown rice

1 3/4 cup water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the rice thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear.  Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through, exactly 45 minutes.  Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the rice sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

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For some reason, I craved this when I was pregnant with both of my boys and might have had it everyday as an afternoon snack.  It’s healthy and somewhat filling and super easy!  I call it a milkshake because it really does taste like one, but it’s just milk and banana!  I’ve newly discovered unsweetened almond milk, which is fun to use in smoothies or in oatmeal.  It has a slightly nutty taste and is very good for you (twice the calcium and half the calories of cow’s milk).

Banana Milkshake

Banana Milkshake

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (can use regular cow’s milk)

1 banana, cut into thirds

Directions:

Purée milk and banana in blender until smooth and drink immediately.

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This is my easy recipe for Swiss chard – I love the flavor of this healthy superfood (excellent source of vitamins A & C and fiber), so I don’t do much to mask the taste.  If your kids won’t eat this, try pureeing it with a bit of the cooking liquid or chicken stock.  You can easily substitute kale if you wish (I prefer the taste of Swiss chard as I find it a tad less bitter).

Swiss Chard

Weeknight Swiss Chard

Ingredients:

2 bunches of Swiss chard (or kale), rinsed and chopped

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Boil 12 cups of water in a large pot and add Swiss chard leaves and stems so they are submerged in the water.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Drain in colander, pressing with back of a spoon to remove any excess water.  Return Swiss chard to the pot and add lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Serves 6.

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This is one of my favorite, easy soups that I make regularly.  You could easily double the recipe and freeze extra into gallon ziplock freezer bags for future dinners.  This is a great vegetarian dinner (since you get protein from the lentils) served with a toasted baguette or rice.  My whole family loves this!

Lentil Kale Soup

Recipe inspired by one that I saw on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Mother’s Group.

Lentil and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I prefer red)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 bunches of kale (or spinach), chopped roughly

Directions:

In a large pot, sauté the onions and carrot in the oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until onions turn clear.  Add the garlic and sauté.  Add the lentils and brown for 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the onions and garlic).  Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and salt.

Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes (less for red lentils). Remove bay leaves.  Throw in kale (or spinach), cover and simmer until greens are soft (about 10 more minutes).  Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and purée in blender before serving.

Great for the whole family.  Add more salt for adults when serving.

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