Sweet Green Juice

I made a kitchen purchase. And sold a few other items. And oh I’m so happy with the decision!

I said goodbye to a few items that I found I hadn’t been using. Goodbye pasta maker, ravioli maker, bread maker and waffle maker! It’s been good, but you were taking up a lot of space in my kitchen. Thank you Kijiji for helping me re-home these functioning but unused items (and helping to get a bit of cash towards the purchase of my new item).

Hello and welcome juicer!

I’ve gone a bit overboard with the juicing. I’m buying more fresh vegetables than ever before (which is great, except that they’re quite expensive in the winter months). I’ve had a fresh juice every morning and a few evenings since I made the purchase. A friend recommended that I go to the discount grocery store that is a bit further than the usual store at which I shop. That has helped very much in keeping the cost down.

So, I’m sorry in advance if I’m overloading you with juice recipes over the next month or more. But they’re so healthy and delicious! And already I’ve noticed that I’m getting more adventuresome in what I will try.

Today, I’m sharing a sweet-tasting green juice. The pear, apple, and grapes make it sweet and helps you ease in to drinking greens. If you have been wanting to try green juices, this is a great way to start out!

Sweet Green Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 small handful of parsley – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 russet pear – approximate cost $0.30
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 Macintosh apple – approximate cost $0.30
  • 30 red grapes – approximate cost $0.60

I can’t guarantee that anything in my home is cat-hair free. I do my best, but she’s just so curious about everything!

Method

  1. Add the ingredients to the juicer one at a time, starting with the softest ingredients and moving to the most dense:
    1. Parsley
    2. Spinach
    3. Grapes
    4. Pear
    5. Apple
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving (approximate cost: $2.00 per serving).

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Trout with Almond Slices, Lemon, Butter, Parsley, Pepper, and Capers

Last week, we celebrated Nana’s birthday with a family dinner. I worked from home in the morning and spent the afternoon running around town picking up groceries from various places, shopping for a birthday gift, picking my brother up from his first day at a new job, then home to make dinner.

It was a busy day. I was glad to end the day with a good, home-cooked meal and some time with my family. It was a very typical visit at home: cook, dinner, dessert, walk the dogs, visit a while longer, then I headed home.

Because I had the afternoon off, I got to plan dinner. Nana had specifically requested fish, any kind, so dad asked me to pick up trout. I also stopped by Herrle’s, a farmer’s market just outside town and picked up a bunch of fresh, local vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, romaine lettuce, and green beans). For dessert, I baked a confetti cake (my family’s favourite). I’ll admit, I took the easy way out with the cake. I used an Angel Food cake mix from a box added a few sprinkles to the batter and a package of Dream whip for the frosting. It was delicious nonetheless.

We all pitched in to bring dinner together.

I chopped tomatoes and cucumber for the salad. My brother and his girlfriend cleaned and trimmed the massive amount of green beans. Dad prepped and baked the fish. My step mother cooked the potatoes on the barbecue. My brother finished working with the green beans quickly, so he helped me tear the romaine lettuce for the salad, then he blanched the green beans.

Amazingly, even with five cooks in the kitchen, we managed to have everything ready at the same time and sat down to a lovely family dinner.

Who cooks when you attend a family dinner? Just one cook or does everyone pitch in?

Trout with Almond Slices, Lemon, Butter, Parsley, Pepper, and Capers

Dad’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 large trout fillets – approximate cost $25.00
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup almond slices – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon parsley – approximate cost $0.15
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted – approximate cost $1.25
  • Capers for serving (optional) – approximate cost $1.50

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse trout fillets with cold water.
  3. Lay fillets flat on a baking tray.
  4. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  5. Drizzle lemon juice and butter over the fish.
  6. Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, parsley and almond slices.
  7. Bake until cooked through.
  8. Serve with capers and enjoy!

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $3.76 per serving).

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Fresh Fish Chowder from Relish Cooking Studio

I was so nervous eating this fresh fish chowder. I have a lactose sensitivity (thank goodness it’s not an intolerance, I couldn’t give up my small amounts of whipped cream, cheese, etc.). It’s not that I can’t eat milk products, I just have to be careful and enjoy them in moderation. And, if I think there might be a problem, take preventative measures by ingesting a “dairy digestive supplement” before the meal. This meal calls for heavy whipping cream… so I took two. Because I wanted to enjoy both this dish and the rest of the meal.

Chef Mark offered to make a soup just for me with a tomato broth as the base. This would have made it lactose free. However, despite his generosity, I declined because I really wanted to taste the chowder recipe as it was meant to be.

If I make this recipe again at home (probably during the winter when we tend to enjoy more soups), I will try out the tomato broth and exclude the cream.

This part of the demo was especially fun, because not only did Chef Mark teach us how to choose fish from the store, he also taught us how to cut a whole fish into fillets. He even allowed someone from the audience to give it a try! (Unfortunately, I didn’t speak up fast enough to try, but I’m confident that, with the right knife, I wouldn’t do a terrible job filleting a fish!)

Have you made fish chowder at home? What kind of soup base do you enjoy? Cream? Tomato? Something else entirely?

Fresh Fish Chowder

Recipe by (and posted with permission from) Chef Mark Brown, demonstration at Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon butter – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine – approximate cost $1.50
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 bay leaf – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 pounds firm white fish (such as sea bass), pin bones removed, fillets cut into 2-inch pieces – approximate cost $20.00
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy (or whipping) cream (so the brother won’t curdle, do not substitute milk) – approximate cost $2.00
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine.
  4. Cook uncovered until the wine reduces by half.
  5. Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Lower heat to medium setting.
  8. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost done (10-15 minutes).
  9. Lower heat to low setting.
  10. Add fish pieces and cream to the pot of potatoes.
  11. Cook over low heat, uncovered, until the fish is just cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  12. Mix in the parsley.
  13. Allow soup to rest for 30 minutes before serving (the flavours will improve).
  14. Serve with a side of fresh bread.

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.68 per serving).

The Side Dish: Spaghetti Squash with Lemon

As a child, spaghetti squash was one of my favourite fall vegetables. My mom would roast it and serve it relatively plain, with butter and salt. I think I mostly enjoyed it because my mom would serve the squash in wedges and let us scrape the squash into the spaghetti-like pieces.

When trying to come up with ideas for vegetables to serve for Thanksgiving, squash immediately came to mind. I was all set to cook butternut squash until I came across a spaghetti squash at the grocery store, I couldn’t pass it by, figuring that I could use it to make something both tasty and pretty.

That’s when I came across the spaghetti squash with lemon recipe from Healthy Vegan Recipes. The picture was pretty and the list of ingredients was appealing. I’ve adapted the recipe because the original was much too sour for our tastes. The lemon taste was overpowering.

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon

Adapted from Healthy Vegan Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved and roasted – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 lemon – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 handful of parsley – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 green onions – approximate cost $0.75
  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • A handful of raw pumpkin seeds – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Bake the squash (whole) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes (or until soft enough that you can easily cut the squash in half).
  2. Let the squash cool.
  3. Cut the squash in half.
  4. Use a fork to scrape the squash so it’s flesh separates into spaghetti-like strings.
  5. Place the shredded squash into a baking pan.
  6. In your food processor, combine: lemon, parsley,  green onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and sea salt.
  7. Process until mostly smooth.
  8. Pour the processed mixture over the squash and toss to coat the squash with the mixture.
  9. Bake the squash at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes.
  10. Top with raw pumpkin seeds.

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.88 per serving).

Eggplant stuffed with tomatoes

A few weeks ago I wrote about the purchasing eggplant at the market. Don’t worry, I didn’t leave it in my fridge for a few weeks. I cooked it that week, but forgot, until now, to share the experience. This is probably because I didn’t get to eat the eggplant when it first came out of the oven, but enjoyed it as leftovers the next day. (I also forgot to take a photo.)

This dish is tasty right out of the oven or an lunch the next day.

Eggplant stuffed with tomatoes

Adapted from Braised Eggplant and Tomatoes found at TheKitchn

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into thirds – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 teaspoon salt– approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/8 cup olive oil– approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley– approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil– approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Place eggplant pieces in a baking pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each pieces with salt.
  2. Allow the eggplant to sweat out the bitter juices (which the salt draws out) for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the salt off of the surface of the eggplant.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Sautee onions in a small amount of olive oil until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  6. Mix onions, tomato, basil, and parsley in a bowl.
  7. Scoop the tomato mixture on top of the eggplant.
  8. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, allowing some to overflow into the bottom of the pan
  9. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the eggplant is soft.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.24 per serving)

Chicken and Rice Soup

With summer coming to an end and the cooler weather of fall arriving, it seems that everyone around me has caught a cold. This is a time when I like to prepare a large batch of chicken and rice soup. It’s comforting whether you’re the one who is sick or you’re trying to avoid catching the cold from those around you.

This soup is fairly basic. The most time consuming portion is making the broth, however this is a hands-off process if you have a slow cooker. From start to finish, this soup takes about 8 ½ hours to prepare, but only about half an hour of that time is spent in the kitchen.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and rice soup

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces (or 4 chicken legs), bone in and skin on – approximate cost $8.00
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 cooking onions, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • Water
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cup of your favourite medium or long grain rice (I used basmati) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley – approximate cost $0.10
  • Salt and pepper to taste – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Combine chicken, onion, bay leaves, and sea salt in a slow cooker. Add enough water to entirely cover the chicken with about 2-3 inches of water.
  2. Cook on low temperature for about 6-8 hours.
  3. Carefully remove cooked chicken from the liquid and place on a cutting board, allow to cool until you can handle the chicken.
  4. Remove and discard skin and bones.
  5. Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.
  6. Return chicken to the slow cooker.
  7. Add carrots, celery, and dried parsley to the slow cooker.
  8. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
  9. Turn slow cooker to high heat, cover, and cook for about half an hour (or until the rice is ready)
  10. Cook rice according to package, using brother from the slow cooker instead of water
  11. Add rice to the slow cooker and mix the soup well.

Serve immediately or keeps well in the freezer for about a month.

Makes about 7 servings (approximate cost: $1.74 per serving)

Hamburgers with Mushroom Sauce

Sometimes I just like to make a quick dinner on weeknights. I find that I frequently fall back on meals that I enjoyed as a child. This is probably because I know the recipe from memory and am confident that it will be tasty. One that I’ve come to love is hamburgers with mushroom sauce (I would try to refuse this when I was younger, claiming I didn’t like mushrooms).

The sauce is very versatile. We also enjoyed it as a topping for pork chops or pasta.

Hamburgers with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef – approximate cost $5.00
  • ½ cup bread crumbs – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • ¼ tsp salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • ½ tsp pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup – approximate cost $1.50
  • ¼ cup of milk – approximate cost $0.30
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley (or ½ tsp of dried parsley) – approximate cost $0.15

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly. If the meat isn’t holding together well, slowly work in more breadcrumbs.
  3. Form the meat mixture into patties and set aside (should make 4 patties depending on the size).
  4. Preheat a large frying pan to medium-high heat (add a teaspoon of olive or canola oil to the pan).
  5. Fry the patties for about 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Avoid flipping the patties more than once so they do not fall apart. Place in a large, oven safe baking dish when browned.
  6. Place all of the patties into the oven and allow them to bake for about 10 minutes (or the same amount of time it takes to make the sauce).
  7. In a medium-sized pot, combine the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and parsley.
  8. Mix well until the sauce is smooth.
  9. Cook over medium heat until heated through (do not boil).
  10. Remove the patties from the oven and pour the mushroom sauce over top.
  11. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.10 per serving).

Savory Chicken Hearts

My favourite memory of eating chicken hearts is from when we cooked this in middle school. You may be surprised to learn that we did not learn to cook chicken heats in Home Economics class, but in Science class! Not coincidentally, on the same day we were dissecting chicken hearts.

Before becoming a middle school science teacher, our science teacher was a cook. And I must say, he cooked delicious chicken hearts. So there we were, dissecting chicken hearts, looking for arteries and whatnot and all the while our teacher was chopping garlic and parsley then frying everything in butter. When we finished our dissection, the chicken hearts were ready to eat and he invited each person in the class to try some. Only a handful of us were daring enough to give it a try. Even fewer of us actually enjoyed it, two of us to be exact.

Savory Chicken Hearts

Savory chicken hearts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chicken hearts – approximate cost $2.50
  • 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. When the butter has just melted, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute
  3. Add the chicken hearts to the frying pan and cook for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through (and maybe browned a bit)
  4. Add the parsley flakes and mix well.
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Goes well with almost any side dish!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $0.78 per serving).

Nutrition information from NutritionData – Chicken hearts are a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and iron.

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