Friday, December 14, 2007

Spanish Rice and Chorizo

One of my favorite things to make is spanish rice. I found a great basic recipe that turns our great results every time. But in my infinite laziness/creativeness I lean more towards one pot meals. Thus a side dish of 'spanish rice' turns into a one-pot meal of rice and chorizo. I spiked this dish with some spinach left over from making a very unhealthy but delicious spinach & artichoke dip for a party tomorrow.

We all know spinach abounds in vitamins (why else was popeye so ripped??), but did you know that along those healthy vitamins can come health warnings? Spinach is loaded (approximately 440 - 400 Mcg per serving) with Vitamin K, which improves blood's ability to clot. However in people taking coumadin and other so-called 'blood thinners' Vitamin K hinders the effects of their drugs.

So what did we learn today? Don't blindly believe that all vitamins are always and only good for you, unfortunately there are many circumstances where this is not the case. It's good to be aware of the possible side effects with any vitamin (and sometimes vegetables!)

Rice and Chorizo

1 chorizo link
1 large onion
1 can diced tomatos, drained (or if in season 1 cup chopped fresh tomatos)
1/3 cup spinach (I used leftover from a package of frozen spinach, but fresh would be good too)
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 TBS tomato paste

Slice into coins and brown the chorizo. Remove the chorizo from the pan, and in the remaining oil cook the chopped onion. After 2 minutes of cooking, add the rice to the onions in the pan and cook for a few minutes, until the rice begins to turn brown and smell nutty.

Add the spinach, chorizo, tomato paste, and tomato to the pan, mix and cook one minute.

Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook around 20 minutes until the rice has soaked up all the stock, and is soft.

Topping this dish with cilantro would be a good ideal

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Tis the season of unnecessary cookie baking. My favorite time of year. Cookies are a good way to get your feet wet in the baking world, generally there's enough dough for more than one batch, so if you mess up the baking time and get cookies that are too crunchy or soft, there's always more for another try. This recipe came from an old church cookbook (with a few tweaks due to ingredient shortages).

Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
powdered sugar

Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together the two mixtures. Stir in the oats. Form balls approximately 1 tablespoon in size and roll balls in powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheet and press down with a fork.

Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes or until light brown.

For me this recipe made 36 cookies (3 sheets of 12 cookies each)

Friday, November 30, 2007

rice with added benefits

Towards the end of the week, the theme of my meals tends to be 'how many things can I use up in one dish before they go bad'. Last night I found: 2 zucchini, 1 onion, and some andouille sausage just begging to be to chopped and eaten. I also increased the health factor by using the leftover broth from my 'sick stew'. Zucchini is high in many vitamins including vitamin A. Vitamin A is important in vision and bone growth, and deficiency can lead to night blindness. I like to think that eating extra zucchini will help me to increase my night vision and enhance my cat-like reflexes.

Rice with Added Benefits

2 zucchini
1 onion
2 andouille sausages
2 cups rice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

Chop and saute zucchini, onion, and sausages. I prefer to saute the sausages first, then use the leftover grease from these to enhance the flavor of the veggies while they saute. Remove from pan, then saute the rice in remaining sausage grease (or add butter if there's none left), until it starts to turn brown and smell nutty. Add back the veggies and sausage to the pan, then stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to steam, covered, until the rice is soft (20 minutes).

Friday, November 23, 2007

sick stew

For those days when you just want to crawl back under the covers and keep a full box of tissues at the ready, i give you: sick stew. When you're sick and have no taste buds, you don't even have to add salt (there's enough already injected into most chicken anyway).

2 pounds chicken parts
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion (also chopped)
various herbs (i prefer rosemary and oregano, because I have them growing fresh in my kitchen)
water to cover (around 6 cups)
1.5 Cups egg noodles

Place everything in a stockpot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer for an hour or so, until the whole house smells like chicken and and the meat falls off the bones. Add the egg noodles and simmer until they are soft. After slurping some sick stew, crawl back under those deserve a day off.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

afternoon snack

Home from school, and famished, not much of my snack remained to photograph (sorry). A great way to wake up and cook dinner is a light snack when getting home from school. Today for me it contained toast with goats cheese (on wheat bread i made a few days ago), ceylon tea, and a few dates. According to an article from the orlando sentinal entitled 'for nutrition, make a date with dates', dates "have a high sugar content, making them a good source of energy, and they provide some fiber, protein and vitamin A, and a good bit of potassium. An ounce, or about 3 large dates, is 86 calories." Sounds like a winner in my snack book!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simple Salad

The last installment of our summer farmers alliance drop off a few weeks ago, brought delicious salad greens and a variety of colorful baby tomatoes. The virtues of the tomato can often be found listed in various websites (such as vitamin C, thiamine, and riboflavin), but the phenomenon of lycopene is rarely explained, which is a shame. Lycopene is a potent carotenoid antioxidant which, astonishingly, is not broken down, but in fact increases it's bioavailability (your bodies ability to use it) during processing (unlike it's weakling cousin vitamin C, which can't take the heat...and therefore should get out of the kitchen!). So fill up on those tomatoes (if there's any left) and don't feel guilty about cooking them down because the lycopene levels will go up and up!

Simple Salad
salad greens
baby tomatoes
goat cheese crumbles
balsamic vinegar

Mix and enjoy!