Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade Mascarpone

Mascarpone is one of those things I love, but hate to buy because it's typically expensive. So when I found out that I was able to make mascarpone at home, from scratch, with heavy cream and fresh lemon juice, I jumped at the chance to give it a try! If you've never had mascarpone, it's rich, creamy and slightly sweet. It's similar to cream cheese, but much softer and richer.

This recipe was simple, heat milk to 190 degrees, add lemon juice, cook 5 more minutes then cool the liquid. Strain in a cheesecloth or a clean tea towel 12-24 hours and you're in business! Woo! There are endless possibilities to where you can use mascarpone: in tiramisu, in dips, in crepes with some fruit, to make sauces to drizzle over pasta or a protein and the list goes on.

Last night I made whole wheat crepes, and filled them with my mascarpone mixed with some organic 85% dark chocolate, and topped that with sliced bananas. I rolled those babies up and sprinkled powdered sugar over top. They were divine. I should have taken a picture for you... My bad. They were yummy though!

Give this recipe a try, not only is it more cost effective than the real thing but it has more flavor and it's more creamy. Indulge yourself, you know you want to!!


Mascarpone from Not Without Salt

2 cups pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized, if possible) cream
1 T fresh lemon juice

Heat to 190* on medium low. Continually stir, taking care not to scorch the bottom.

When the cream has reached 190* add the lemon juice. It will immediately get a touch thicker. Heat at 190* for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from the heat, cover the pan and refrigerate over night or until completely cool.

Once cream has cooled it will be nearly as thick as sour cream.

Place a strainer lined with four layers of cheesecloth over a medium bowl. Add the thickened cream to the cheesecloth. Gather the corners and carefully tie the ends to form a bundle. Hang this in the fridge and let drain into the bowl for another 12-24 hours, or overnight. There should be a couple tablespoons of whey left in the bowl after it’s finished draining.

After the cream has hung and drained your mascarpone is finished and ready to use.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meal Plan 03/28-04/03, Featuring Organic/Natural Deals


Welcome back to the Weekly Meal Plan! The stores weren't as abundant with organic/natural sale items this week, but I've come up with a delicious menu for you! With Easter being next weekend, I'm interested to see what kinds of meat and vegetables we'll be able to get on sale. Might be time to stock up on a few items! We'll see...



If you're new to the Meal Plan, this is how it works:
Each week I'll give you seven days of meals that will feed 4-6 people (depending on the recipe), and which stores have the main ingredients on sale. I'll suggest a side dish as well. Some of the recipes I've tried, and some I have not. Some weeks I'll be trying recipes with you and we can talk about what we think of the recipes on the blog's facebook page! Whoo! I hope you're as excited as I am! If you have any questions about the meal plans or any requests, please leave a comment and let me know.


Not sure what stores you have in your area? Here are some links to find the stores that are near you:

QFC locations

TOP Foods locations
Albertsons locations
Safeway locations

And now for this week's meal plan:

***Make a little extra chicken, whether the lemon chicken or chicken tenders, for the quesadillas later in the week.

1. Baked Panko Rockfish with Gingery Cabbage & Baked Brown Rice
QFC = Rockfish, $4.99lb
Safeway = Rockfish, $6.99lb

2. Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Chicken & Saturday Night Sweet Onions
QFC = Free Range Boneless Skinless Chicken, $6.99lb
Safeway = Boneless Skinless Chicken, $4.49lb
Safeway = Yellow Sweet Onions, $.99lb

3. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (double the mac and cheese recipe) & Salad 
TOP = Tillamook variety of cheese, $5.99
QFC = Tillamook Medium Cheddar, $4.99
Safeway = O Organics Salad blends, 2 for $6
Safeway = O Organics Whole Wheat Pasta, $1.77 each


4. Caramelized Onion Tart/Quiche & Fruit (feel free to use whatever cheese you have on hand if you don't want to buy gruyere. You can also bake this in a pie pan if you don't have a tart pan)
Safeway = Yellow Sweet Onions, $.99lb
Safeway = Organic Blueberries, 6oz, $3.99
Safeway = Organic Navel Oranges, $1.49lb
Safeway = Sweet Red or Ataulfo Mangoes, 4 for $5
QFC = Pineapple, Whole or Cored, $1.99 each
QFC = Organic Strawberries, 16oz, $3.99 each
QFC = Organic Mangoes, 2 for $3
TOP = Honey Mangoes, $.50 each


5. Grilled Swordfish or Mahi Mahi with Cucumber Melon Salsa & Cilantro Lime Rice
Albertsons = $3.99 for either fish
QFC = Organic Cucumbers 2 for $3

6. Spicy Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard & Baked French Fries
Safeway = Chicken Tenders, $4.49lb


7. Chicken Cheddar Quesadillas with White Bean-Green Pea Guacamole & Broccoli Slaw Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing
Use whatever leftover cheese you have from Mac and Cheese
Use whatever leftover chicken you have (from lemon chicken or chicken tenders)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weekly Deals, 03/28-04/03



Welcome back to Weekly Deals. My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a Meal Plan that will utilize the fantastic deals!! You can check out last week's meal plan here.

So here's this week's Weekly Deals!

TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 03/28-04/03


ALL Full Circle Organic and Natural products, 25% off
Tillamook Cheese, 2lb select varieties, $5.99
Honey Mangoes, $.50 each
Wild Caught Alaskan True Cod Fillets, $3.99lb


QFC -  Prices good 03/28-04/03

Ranger Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Free Range, $6.99 lb
Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99lb
Wild Caught Lobster Tail, 4oz, $6.99 each
Wild Caught Rockfish Filets, $4.99lb
Haas Large Avocados, 2 for $4
Pineapple, Whole or Cored, $1.99 each
Organic Strawberries, 16oz, $3.99 each
Organic Cucumbers, 2 for $3
Organic Private Selection Cut Vegetables/Broccoli Slaw, 10oz, 2 for $5
Organic Mangoes, 2 for $3
Organic Mini Peeled Carrots, 2 for $3
Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese, 32oz, $4.99
Endangered Species Chocolate, 3oz select varieties, BOGO free
Fage Greek Yogurt, 17.6oz select varieties, $3.49
Organic Valley Milk, half gallon select varieties, $3.69 each
Tom's of Maine Toothpaste or Deodorant, select varieties, 40% off
Annie's Naturals Dressing, 8oz select varieties, 2 for $6


Albertson's -  Prices good 03/28-04/03

Wild Caught Jumbo Snow Crab Clusters, $9.99lb
Wild Caught Alaska Cod Fillets, $4.99lb
Wild Caught, 5oz, Mahi Mahi or Sockeye Salmon Fillets or Swordfish Steaks, $3.99
Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99lb
Pirate's Brand Snacks, 4-6oz, select varieties, $2.29 each
Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, $3.59
Fage Yogurt Cups, 5.3oz select varieties, 10 for $10


Safeway -  Prices good 03/28-04/03   


Haas Avocados, 10 for $10
Red Grapefruit, 10 for $10
Foster Farms Fresh and Easy Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenders, $4.49lb
Fresh Rockfish Fillets, $6.99lb
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $9.99lb
O Organics Whole Wheat Pasta, select varieties, $1.77 each
O Organics Salad Blends, 2 for $6
O Organics Mini Sweet Peppers, $2.99 each
Organic Blueberries, 6oz, $3.99
Organic Navel Oranges, $1.49lb
Sweet Red or Ataulfo Mangoes, 4 for $5
Sweet Yellow Onions, $.99


Safeway is also having a 4 Day sale on 03/30-04-02
Wild Alaskan Cod FIllets, $3.99lb
Bolthouse Farms Drinks, 32oz, $2.49 each WITH in-ad coupon, limit 2
Clif, Luna or MoJo Energy Bars, $.99 each
Green Mountain (and possibly Tully's) Keurig K-Cups, $5 each FRIDAY ONLY



Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homemade Ricotta, Oh Yes You Can!!!

09/25/12 Edited to Add: I've made this a few times now without adding the heavy cream, because I forgot to buy it, and it's turned out just fine! I'm sure you could use any milk you want (2%, 1%, etc), but it won't be as delicious as with the whole milk.

Please don't let the thought of making your own cheese deter you from trying it! If you can bring liquid to a boil, you can make ricotta. This doesn't require any special equipment, aside from the cheesecloth, but I just used a clean tea towel. Also, I've gotta tell you, I do NOT like ricotta cheese. It's gritty and tastes like cardboard. I can handle it in lasagna because there's enough other stuff in there to distract from it. I tried a ricotta parfait once, and it didn't go well.

Anyway, this ricotta is not like that. It's creamy, and smooth and SO flavorful. I was literally eating pieces of it out of the colander. I cannot wait to try more recipes that feature this new wonderful cheese! I used this in the Zucchini Lasagna I mentioned yesterday, and it was divine. Be on the lookout for even more ways to use this new treat!

What I loved most about the process of making ricotta was that you bring it to a boil, but you don't even have to stir it the whole time! Simple simple :) You let the liquid come to a boil and curdle, then you scoop it out and let it drain a few minutes and voila! Fresh homemade cheese! Please try this, you will not be sorry and you probably won't ever buy ricotta from the store again!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese from Framed Cooks


INGREDIENTS

4 cups whole milk
One cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Line a fine mesh strainer with several folds of cheesecloth and set it in your sink.

2. Combine milk, buttermilk and cream in medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil until cooking thermometer registers 185 degrees...if you don't have a thermometer, keep an eye on it to see when the curds (the solid white parts) are mostly separated from the whey (the cloudy liquid). This will take about 10 minutes...stir a couple of times during the boiling process.

3. Remove from heat and using a slotted spot, scoop spoonfuls of the curd into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, sprinkling with a little salt every few spoonfuls or so.

4. Let the ricotta drain for about 5 minutes and then taste to check the consistency. If you like it drier, then let it drain a little more. If you like it moister, stir in a tablespoon or two of milk. This ricotta is best used right away, but will keep for a day or two in the fridge.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meatless Monday, Zucchini Lasagna


Two weeks ago, I posted this Zucchini Lasagna  in the meal plan because zucchini was on sale that week. I picked up some zucchini myself and whipped this up. I also made the ricotta from scratch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be sharing that with you tomorrow, (you can find the recipe here) but take it from me... Once you've had this ricotta, you won't ever buy it from the grocery store again!

My husband and I loved this lasagna. The pesto with the homemade ricotta, Parmesan and zucchini made a perfect combo. This also didn't take too long to put together! Make sure you slice the zucchini as thinly as the recipe specifies. If you have a hard time though, just cook the lasagna a little longer until the zucchini is tender.

I would serve this with a protein, so since it's meatless Monday I'd go with Sauteed Cannellini Beans but you could also serve this with a simple fish or chicken on any other day ;)


Zucchini Lasagna (without the pasta sheets)
(makes one square, 8″ x 8″ lasagna, or about 6 servings)

3-4 medium-large zucchinis, yellow squashes or other summer squashes, ends trimmed
8 oz. ricotta
1 egg
about 1/4 cup pesto
about 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1T and brushed it on with a pastry brush)
about 1/4 cup grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice zucchini and squashes lengthwise into about 1/8-inch thick slices. You should have about 30 long pieces for layers. Drizzle all the pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper on each side.

Gently beat the egg and mix in thoroughly with the ricotta. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Lightly oil the bottom of a square casserole dish. Arrange four large squash slices on the bottom. Spread 1/3 of the pesto on top. Arrange another layer of squash pieces, horizontally in relation to the last layer. Spread half the ricotta on top. Add another layer of squash pieces and spread another 1/3 of the pesto. Add another layer of squash pieces and spread the remaining ricotta. Add another layer of squash pieces and spread the remaining pesto. Sound like a broken record.

Sprinkle the top with the grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano and bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let cool for at least five minutes and serve.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meal Plan 03/21-03/27, Featuring Organic/Natural Deals


Welcome back to our second edition of Weekly Meal Plans! I've got some delicious recipes this week, and I'll be cooking a couple along side of you! Did you make anything from the meal plan last week? I made the Zucchini Lasagna, and my goodness it was delicious! I'd love to hear about any deals you got, as well as the recipes you've tried.

QFC seemed to rule this week. They had a lot of great organics on sale, while the other stores seemed somewhat lacking :( Oh well! This also got me thinking, you may not know that you have certain stores near you. So if you're unsure, you can click on the following links to find a store near you!

QFC locations
TOP Foods locations
Albertsons locations
Safeway locations

If you're new to the Meal Plan, this is how it works:
Each week I'll give you seven days of meals that will feed 4-6 people (depending on the recipe), and which stores have the main ingredients on sale. I'll suggest a side dish as well. Some of the recipes I've tried, and some I have not. Some weeks I'll be trying recipes with you and we can talk about what we think of the recipes on the blog's facebook page! Whoo! I hope you're as excited as I am! If you have any questions about the meal plans or any requests, please leave a comment and let me know. So here we go, this week's meal plan:


1. Braised Coriander Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Olives and Mint & Watermelon
TOP Draper Valley Farms Fresh Whole Chicken, $.89lb
TOP Oso Sweet Onions, $.57lb
Albertsons Mini Watermelons, 2 for $5


2. Coriander Chicken Enchiladas & Grilled Avocados
Use leftover chicken and sauce from Coriander Chicken
TOP Haas Avocados, 2 for $1 - 03/21-03/23 ONLY
QFC Haas Avocados, BOGO Free
Albertsons Ripe Haas Avocado, $.99 each

3. Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice 
QFC Farmland Pork Chops, BOGO Free
QFC Pineapple, Whole or Cored, BOGO Free

4. Mushroom Barley Soup & Green Salad
Albertsons Whole or Sliced, White or Brown Mushrooms, 8oz, $2.49 each
QFC Private Selection Romaine, 3ct, BOGO Free

5. Fish Piccata & Rice Pilaf with Veggie of your Choice
QFC Wild Caught Dover Sole Filets, $4.99lb
Albertsons Wild Caught Dover Sole or Rockfish Fillets, $7.99 lb

6. Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon & Roasted Broccoli 
TOP Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $5.99lb
QFC Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99lb
QFC Organic Broccoli, $1.49lb

 7. Jamie Oliver's Whole Baked Cauliflower with Olive and Tomato Sauce & Sauteed Cannellini Beans with Baguette
QFC Organic Cauliflower, $1.49lb






Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekly Deals, 03/21 to 03/27


Welcome back to Weekly Deals. My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a Meal Plan that will utilize the fantastic deals!! You can check out last week's meal plan here.

So here's this week's Weekly Deals!

TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 03/21 to 03/27

Oso Sweet Onions, $.57lb
Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $5.99lb
Tillamook shredded cheese, 16oz select varieties, $3.99
Draper Valley Farms Fresh Whole Chicken, $.89lb
Ruby Red Texas Grapefruit, 3 for $1

TOP is also having a 3 Day Produce Sale, 03/21-03/23
Yellow Onions, $.25 lb
Haas Avocados, 2 for $1
Kiwi, 6 for $1
Mangoes, $.59 each


QFC -  Prices good 03/21 to 03/27

Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99lb
Pineapple, Whole or Cored, BOGO Free
Haas Avocados, BOGO Free
Coleman Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, $7.99lb
Wild Caught Dover Sole Filets, $4.99lb
Organic Broccoli & Cauliflower, $1.49lb
Organic Strawberries, BOGO Free
Organic Kiwi, BOGO Free
Organic Haas Avocados, BOGO Free
Private Selection Romaine, 3ct, BOGO Free
Simple Truth Organic Milk, half gallon, $2.68 each
Nature's Path Organic Cereal, 2 for $5
Nature's Way Supplements, select varieties and sizes, 40% off


Albertson's -  Prices good 03/21 to 03/27

Mini Watermelons, 2 for $5
Knudsen Juice, 32oz, $2.99
Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips, 2 for $6
Organic Green Onions, $1.49 each
Pirate Brands Multi Packs, $4.99 each
Wild Caught Dover Sole or Rockfish Fillets, $7.99 lb
Wild Caught Jumbo Dungeness Crab Clusters, $9.99lb
Ripe Haas Avocado, $.99 each
Fresh Yellow Onions, $.49lb
Whole or Sliced, White or Brown Mushrooms, 8oz, $2.49 each
North Atlantic Coldwater Lobster Tails, $6.99 each
Cliff, Luna or Mojo Bars, 10 for $10


Safeway -  Prices good 03/21 to 03/27   

Tillamook Yogurt, 10 for $5
Wild Alaskan Cod FIllets, $6.99lb
Nature Made or Nature Bounty Vitamins, select varieties, BOGO Free
Kiwi, 3 for $99
Sweet Yellow Onions, $.99lb
Texas Red Grapefruit, $.79 each


Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Italian Polenta Casserole - Freezable!

If you've been around the blog long enough, you know that I LOVE meals that freeze well. A few friends and I exchange frozen meals (made with organic ingredients) each month. It's fun to exchange in a small group because while I only make one recipe, I get two or three different ones back! I also get to try new recipes and things I might not think to make myself.

I made this Italian Polenta Casserole for March's exchange. It utilizes the homemade turkey sausage and the oven baked polenta I shared recently. I imagine you could use different veggies (zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms) in place of the eggplant if you're not an eggplant fan. Next time I make this, I might add a can of tomato sauce or paste to it so that the sauce is a bit thicker, but overall this is really yummy! I changed this recipe to suit my needs, and it will be written as such here.

This recipe makes enough sauce for three casseroles, so you can eat one casserole now and freeze the other for later, also having extra sauce left over that's good over pasta, in a lasagna, in a soup, etc! If you want to make three casseroles, you'll want to make three recipes of the oven baked polenta, the recipe is only written for two recipes of the polenta. 

Italian Polenta Casserole, Adapted from Delish.com

Ingredients
16 ounces turkey sausage (I used the homemade turkey sausage recipe)
16 ounces ground beef 
2 (1-pound) jumbo onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1T Italian seasoning
2 cans (28-ounce) whole tomatoes in puree
2 small (1-pound) eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
9 cups water
2 1/4 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram (or 1 teaspoon dried), can also use oregano
Parmesan Cheese to taste (optional)


Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In each of two 9X13 pans, whisk together 4 1/2 cups water, 1 cup + 2T cornmeal,  2t salt, and  1/4 pepper. Cover, and bake 15 minutes then stir. Re-cover and cook 15 more minutes.

Remove polenta from oven, and add  to each pan: 1/4c + 2T milk, 3T butter, and 1 1/2t fresh marjoram (or 1/2 t dried); whisk briskly until smooth. Add Parmesan if using. Smooth polenta evenly in the pan.

Turn oven down to 400 degrees.

In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, cook sausage and ground beef on medium-high 5 to 6 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking up meat with side of spoon. With slotted spoon, transfer meat mixture to medium bowl.

To same Dutch oven, add onion; cook on medium 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning; cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with their puree; heat to boiling on high, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add eggplant and meat; cover and cook 5 minutes on medium. Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer or until eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Distribute filling evenly over two pans of polenta and another bowl (to save extra sauce) to cool. 

Bake one casserole 30 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes for easier serving. Meanwhile, rapidly cool other casserole and extra sauce, then freeze both.

To reheat after thawing 24 hours:

Conventional oven: Heat, loosely covered, at 350 degrees F 1 hour; uncover and heat 20 minutes longer.

Microwave oven: Heat, covered, on Low (30 percent) 20 minutes, then on High 18 minutes longer.

Meatless Monday, Oven Baked Creamy Polenta

Today's recipe for Meatless Monday is so versatile, it will work with many of your non-meat meals! You can pour soup over it, or a hearty tomato sauce, it would also be wonderful with a saute of your favorite vegetables.

Now, when I say polenta, most people probably think of the stuff that comes in a tube at the grocery store. While that is delicious, this version is different. This version comes out luxuriously creamy, smooth and rich. In my opinion, creamy polenta is highly underrated. Maybe it's because most  preparations require a long time in front of a stove stirring until your arm falls off, because I tell ya, that stuff gets thick! It bubbles at you and threatens to burn you or even splatter in your eye if you're one of the especially unlucky ones. You also run the risk of a lumpy polenta, and no one likes lumpy polenta. Fortunately I came across this recipe a few years ago, and have since spared myself from the stirring-over-the-stove business. It's very inexpensive, and couldn't be any more simple either, you mix everything in a dish, put the lid on and bake stirring half way through. Once it's done, you stir in some milk, butter, herbs and Parmesan then you're ready to enjoy.

This is fantastic served in place of mashed potatoes, but I love to serve it with something that has a lot of sauce (Osso Bucco, Braised Short Ribs, Bolognese) because I like to spoon the sauce over top of the polenta. This is also fantastic with the Ratatoullie recipe I shared a few weeks ago, serve with a salad and you have a well rounded meal! 

Oven Baked Creamy Polenta, Adapted From Martha Stewart
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup + 2T cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup + 2T milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), can also use oregano
Parmesan Cheese to taste (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan with a lid, whisk together 3 cups water, cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Cover, and bake 15 minutes then stir. Re-cover and cook 15 more minutes.

Remove from oven, and add milk, butter, and marjoram; whisk briskly until smooth. Add Parmesan if using. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade Turkey Sausage - Freezable

Around our home we try to eat as close to organic as possible, while not spending an arm and a leg. That is one of the reasons why I share weekly deals with you, I know I can't be the only one trying to save moolah while trying to feed my family organic and whole foods! :) Anywhoo, I had a recipe which called for turkey sausage, which I couldn't find organic (at least in our city). So I did the next best thing (in my mind) and purchased organic ground turkey, remembering I found a recipe to make my own turkey sausage. A quick trip to Pinterest when I got home, and I found my recipe. I actually had all of the spices on hand to make the sausage, even though the recipe says you can make the it without all of the spices except the sage, as it gives the sausage a great sausage flavor.

The awesome thing about this recipe is that organic turkey sausage cost at least $9 per pound, that is if you can even find it. I only had to pay the price of the ground turkey, and I knew exactly what was in it! No chemicals, no preservatives, no nitrates or nitrites. It doesn't get any better than that!

I can't wait to make this again! Next time I may add some fennel, as I like the flavor it imparts to sausage. Maple would be a good addition especially for breakfast sausage. I ended up adding this to a sauce with ground beef and eggplant but I would love to make this into patties for breakfast! The recipe says you can freeze them, so that may be up next for me. Possibly for a homemade breakfast sandwich. I shall keep you posted on that. In the meantime, here's the recipe for homemade turkey sausage. Give it a try, you'll love it!

Homemade Turkey Sausage, from Raising Homemakers

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

Mix all the ingredients and chill for an hour or two. Chilling the mix helps to enhance and blend the flavors as well as helps when forming the patties. Make into patties and fry in a skillet with a little butter or on a griddle. Cool and then freeze. If you don’t have all of the spices you can make it without using them all, except the sage. The sage gives adds a great sausage flavor.

Freezing

When freezing sausages you have a couple of options. It depends on how much room and time you have.

1. Place them on a tray in a single layer, freeze and then put them into freezer bags.

2. Put them in freezer bags with wax or parchment paper in between, so they don’t stick to each other and you can easily pull out just what you need without thawing the entire bag.

Brand New Free (Natural and Organic) MEAL PLAN!! 03/16/12


I think that one of the biggest reasons people don't cook dinner is because they don't know what to make, or they get stuck in a rut cooking the same things all of the time. And who hasn't decided to make a new recipe they've found, only to discover that the ingredients for one meal cost over $50? I know I've done that, and it's sucked the fun out of making the meal. To combat that, I started basing my meals around what's on sale in the flyers each week, and I've been sharing those deals with you in the Weekly Deals every Wednesday. I've decided to take it one step further now and I'll be sharing meal plans each Thursday that showcase sale items at the four grocery stores each week.

Each week I'll give you seven days of meals that will feed 4-6 people (depending on the recipe), and which stores has the main ingredients on sale. I'll suggest a side dish as well. Some of the recipes I've tried, and some I have not. Some weeks I'll be trying recipes with you and we can talk about what we think of the recipes on the blog's facebook page! Whoo! I hope you're as excited as I am! If you have any questions about the meal plans or any requests, please leave a comment and let me know. So here we go, our first week of meal plans:

1. Roast Chicken with Vegetables, A simple roast chicken with potatoes, carrots, onion and celery.
Safeway Foster Farms Fresh Whole Fryer, $.89lb
QFC Organic Celery, $.99lb

2. Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Cucumbers, simple pasta toss loaded with cucumbers, chicken and peanuts.
     Shred and use leftover roast chicken & serve with spinach or green salad
    
3. Fish Tacos with Mexican Slaw, use cod instead of tilapia in the recipe.
Cod
QFC Wild Caught Alaska True Cod Fillets, $6.99lb
TOP Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets, $4.99lb
Albertsons Wild Caught Alaska Cod Fillets, $3.99lb 
Cabbage
QFC Cabbage, 3lbs for $1 
TOP Green Cabbage, $.38 lb 
Albertsons Fresh Green Cabbage, $.39lb
Safeway Green Cabbage, $.49lb

4. Lemon Pilaf with Salmon, a lite and lemony "one dish" meal.
Salmon
QFC Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $9.99lb 
TOP Lummi Island Wild Pacific Pink Salmon, 6oz, $2.99 each 
Albertsons Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $7.99lb
Rice
TOP Full Circle Organic Rice, 2lb white, brown or basmati, $3.49    

5. Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce (Freezable) & Roasted Asparagus, delish stuffed shells, you can use regular jarred marinara instead of making the arrabbiata sauce if you'd like! The shells and asparagus cook at the same temp, so you can cook them together. 
Turkey
Safeway Foster Farms Ground Turkey Breast, 20oz, $5.99 each
Asparagus
QFC Asparagus, $.99lb
Albertsons Fresh Asparagus, $1.88lb
Safeway Fresh Asparagus, $2.99lb

6. Zucchini Lasagna with Fruit, a noodle-less lasagna with zucchini "pasta", ricotta, Parmesan and pesto.
Zucchini
QFC Organic Zucchini, $1.29lb
Fruit 
TOP Organic Strawberries, 1lb, $3.98 
TOP Organic Kiwi, 5 for $2
QFC Organic Strawberries, 16oz, $2.99 
QFC Del Monte Magnificent Cantaloupe or Personal Watermelon, 2 for $5 
Safeway Organic Lady Alice Apples, $1.99lb

7. Baked Potatoes with Sausage and Arugula Sauce & Green Salad, an easy weeknight meal from one of my Food Network favorites! Feel free to use cream cheese in place of the mascarpone, or spinach instead of arugula.
QFC Isernio's Chicken Sausage, 13.3oz, $5.99
Albertsons Wild Harvest Romaine Hearts, 3ct package, $2.99 each

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekly Deals, 03/14 to 03/20



Welcome back to Weekly Deals. My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)


So here's this week's Weekly Deals!

TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 03/14-03/20

Tillamook sliced cheese, 12oz select varieties, $3.49
Pirate's Booty Snacks, 6 count, $4.99
Pop Chips, 3oz, 2 for $5
Lindt Chocolate, 3.5oz, 2 for $5
Green Cabbage, $.38 lb
White or Crimini Mushrooms, 8oz, $2 each
Oso Sweet Onions, $.79lb
Organic Kiwi, 5 for $2
Organic Carrots 1lb bag, $.89 each
Organic Strawberries, 1lb, $3.98
Lummi Island Wild Pacific Pink Salmon, 6oz, $2.99 each
Draper Valley Farms Fresh Fryer Drumsticks, $1.19lb
Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets, $4.99lb
Full Circle Organic Juice, 32-64oz select varieties, $3.99
Full Circle Organic Rice, 2lb white, brown or basmati, $3.49
Full Circle Organic Refried Beans, 15oz, 2 for $3
Helios Organic Kefir, 2 for $7


QFC -  Prices good 03/14-03/20

Organic Valley Cheese, 6oz, select varieties, $3.99
The Republic of Tea, select varieties, $9.99
Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Pasta, $2.99
West Soy Organic Beans, 15oz, $1.99
Nancy's Organic Cottage Cheese, 16oz, $2.99
Amy's Organic Soups, 2 for $5
Helios Organic Kefir, 32oz, $3.99
Hansen's Natural or Diet Soda, $2.99
Annie's Natural Macaroni and Cheese, 10 for $10
Horizon Organic Milk, 10 for $10
Asparagus, $.99lb
Del Monte Magnificent Cantaloupe or Personal Watermelon, 2 for $5
Draper Valley Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, BOGO free
Isernio's Chicken Sausage, 13.3oz, $5.99
Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $9.99lb
Wild Caught Snow Crab Sections, $6.99lb
Wild Caught Alaska True Cod Fillets, $6.99lb
Cabbage, 3lbs for $1
Organic Mandarins, $3.99
Organic Strawberries, 16oz, $2.99
Organic Celery, $.99lb
Organic Red Grapefruit, 10 for $10
Organic Zucchini, $1.29lb
Simple Truth Organic Milk, half gallon, $2.68 each
Nature's Path Organic Cereal, 2 for $5
Tillamook Yogurt, 6oz, $.55 each
Nature's Way Supplements, select varieties and sizes, 40% off


Albertson's -  Prices good 03/14-03/20

Fresh Asparagus, $1.88lb
Wild Caught Alaska Cod Fillets, $3.99lb
Wild Caught Jumbo Snow Crab Clusters, $7.99lb
Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $7.99lb
Fresh Green Cabbage, $.39lb
Lundberg Organic Risotto, 2 for $5
Draper Valley Farms Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, $5.49lb
Wild Harvest Romaine Hearts, 3ct package, $2.99 each
Fresh Yellow Onions, $.99lb


Safeway -  Prices good  03/14-03/20   

Foster Farms Fresh Whole Fryer, $.89lb
Wild Caught Alaskan Cod Fillets, $4.99
Foster Farms Ground Turkey Breast or Turkey Breast Tenders, 20oz, $5.99 each
Green Cabbage, $.49lb
Tillamook Cheese, 2lb select varieties, $5.99
Cliff or Larabars, $.99
Fresh Asparagus, $2.99lb
Organic Lady Alice Apples, $1.99lb

Safeway is also having a four day sale, Friday-Monday
Haas Avocados, 10 for $10


Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meatless Monday - Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies

Happy (meatless) Monday to you! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, I did! I had a birthday on Friday, and immensely enjoyed my birthday weekend.

This week's meatless recipe hails from one of my all time favorite chefs, Giada DeLaurentiis. I simply adore her, and her recipes. I've been making this one for about five years now and it never ceases to impress. Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies, this recipe is so flavorful and decadent with three cheeses, that you won't miss the meat. It's got zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, crimini mushrooms and onion but you could really use any veggies you like (that can handle roasting). I've made this with asparagus before, and that's worked wonderfully. If you don't like a veggie that's in the recipe, just omit and add extra of something else. For the cheesey cheese, this recipe has fontina, smoked mozzarella (I used smoked gouda) and parmesan. I've used regular mozzarella in place of smoked mozzarella. I just don't always love smoked cheese.

This recipe can be made a few hours or days ahead of time, and you can even freeze it! You would just defrost it completely, and you might need to add a bit of time to the cooking time because everything will be chilled from the fridge. I've also made large quantities of this, it holds up well in a buffet/potluck atmosphere.


Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables, from Giada DeLarentiis


Ingredients
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Weekly Deals 03/07-03/13


Welcome back to Weekly Deals. Sorry I'm getting these to you a day late! My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)


So here's this week's Weekly Deals!

TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 03/07-03/13

Tillamook yogurt, 6oz, 20 for $10
Darigold Butter, 1lb, 2 for $5
Tillamook Ice Cream, 1.75qt, 2 for $7
Tillamook cheese, 1lb select varieties, $3.99
Mom's Best Natural Cereals, $1.88
Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99 lb
Wild Caught Whole Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $5.49lb
Fresh Local Oysters in the Shell, $5.99 doz
Wild Caught Pacific Keta Seasoned Salmon Portions, 2 for $5
Honey Mangoes, $.50 each
Green Cabbage, $.59 lb


QFC -  Prices good 03/07-03/13

Draper Valley All Natural Whole Chicken, $.79 lb
Wild Caught Whole Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $3.99lb
Cascadian Farm Organic Cereal or Granola, $2.99 each

Knudsen Organic Juice, 32oz, $2.99 each
Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce, 25.5 to 26oz varieties, $2.99 each

LaraBar, 4 for $5
Fage Greek Yogurt, select varieties 5-7oz, 4 for $5
Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes, 2 for $5
Wild Caught Dover Sole Filets, $4.99lb
Organic Ground Beef, 90% lean, $5.99lb
Ranger Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, $6.99lb
Whole or Cored Pineapple, $2.99 each
Haas Avocados, 2 for $3
Mangoes, 2 for $3
Organic Red or Green Leaf Lettuce, 2 for $3
Organic Fuji Apples, $1.29lb
Private Selection Organic Salad Blends, $2.99


Albertson's -  Prices good  03/07-03/13  

North Atlantic Cold water Lobster Tails, 4-5oz, $4.99 with in-ad coupon
Foster Farms Whole Fryer, $1.29lb
Amy's Kitchen Frozen Meal Bowls, $4.49
Wild Harvest Organic Salad Blends, 2 for $6
Fresh Sweet Onions, $.99lb
Fresh Red Grapefruit, 2 for $1
Fresh Avocados, $.99
Mini Watermelon, $3.99
Fresh Asparagus, $1.99 lb
Cliff, Luna or Mojo Bars, 10 for $10


Safeway -  Prices good 03/07-03/13  

Wild Caught Whole Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $4.99lb
Wild Caught Snow Crab Clusters, $8.99lb
Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Roast, $6.99lb
Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Steaks, $7.99lb
Wild Caught Fresh Rockfish Fillets, $6.99lb
Iserno's Breakfast Chicken Sausage
Organic Broccoli or Cauliflower, $1.77lb
Safeway Farms Sugar Snap or Snow Peas, 2 for $4
Fage Greek Yogurt, 4 for $5
O Organics, 64oz, $2.99

Safeway is also having a four day sale, 03/09-03/12
Mini Watermelons, $3.99
Tillamook Yogurt, 6oz, $.49 each
Organix Brazilian or Moroccan Hair Care, B1G1 Free


Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel and Olives

Let me first explain what a paillard is, so you won't be intimidated by this recipe. Paillard is an older term referring to the quick cooking of thinly sliced/thinly pounded pieces of meat. So there you go, don't be afraid!

This recipe was suggested by my friend Carrie. I've only gotten to hang out with her once, but I think we are cooking soul mates. We like the same chefs, and a lot of the same foods. She and my husband went to high school together in California, where she still lives (lucky). Hopefully we'll get to cook together someday soon, but until then we'll just keep suggesting recipes and restaurants to each other :)

This recipe hails from esteemed Chef Eric Ripert, although I didn't realize that until I began writing this post. As soon as I saw the title: Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel and Olives, I was hooked. I read the ingredient list, and decided I was making it for dinner that night. This recipe features thin chicken cutlets, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, fennel, green olives, raisins soaked in wine, capers, toasted pine nuts, thyme, olive oil, basil and parsley. It's also quick to throw together, you just combine all of the ingredients, put that mixture on top of the chicken and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

I paired this chicken with roasted potatoes (I threw them in the oven for 15 minutes while I prepped the chicken) and green beans. I fell in love with this chicken. Each ingredient speaks for itself. I mean, you can literally taste each ingredient, each one shines through and the flavors come together beautifully and perfectly. It's lite, sweet, acidic, tart, garlicky and creamy all at the same time. My husband thought this was flavorful, and loved this dish as well. As I'm writing about it, I'm trying to keep myself from going into the fridge and eating the leftovers. It's.That.Good. 

I did change two things in this recipe. I used canned diced tomatoes because that's what I had on hand. I just made sure to drain them well first. I also planned on using dried thyme, but when I got home from the store, I saw that I was out, so I just omit it altogether. The recipe did not suffer, it was still amazing! I will try it next time though. I'm already thinking about when I can make this again...

The inspiration for this chicken paillard recipe came after a visit to the olive orchards of Castello di Fonterutoli in Chianti, Italy. Topped with tomatoes and herbs, fennel, pine nuts and capers, it is reflective of the kinds of ingredients commonly found in that region of Italy.

INGREDIENTS
4 skinless boneless chicken
   breasts, butterflied and lightly
   pounded flat
½ cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded
   and diced
¾ cup thinly sliced fennel
½ cup green olives, pitted and
   sliced
¼ cup raisins, soaked in white
   wine
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons capers
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons basil julienne
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- fine sea salt and freshly
   ground pepper

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a lightly greased baking dish.

Combine together in a mixing bowl the shallots, garlic, tomatoes, fennel, green olives, raisins, pine nuts, capers, and thyme leaves. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover the chicken with the tomato, fennel and olive mixture and drizzle a little more olive oil over and around the paillards. Bake the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Sprinkle the parsley and basil over the paillards and serve immediately.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meatless Monday - Protein Packed Tomato Basil Soup

Happy Monday, I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I'm back today with another Meatless Monday recipe, that I absolutely adore. Protein Packed Tomato Basil Soup. This soup is low calorie, yet deliciously silky smooth and creamy and will keep you feeling full! It's perfect to pair with a salad or of course, a grilled cheese sandwich.

The protein secret here? Silken Tofu. Yup, that's right. It gets blended into the soup, making it creamy without having to add heavy cream. With fresh basil and red pepper flakes, you will love this soup that's anything but bland. It takes barely any time to put together, and you'll have your family raving over it!


Protein-packed Tomato-Basil Soup 

This delicious, protein-packed soup will leave you warm and satisfied. Don't let the creamy color fool you. This is a vegan soup! This is a great to take to the office or send with the kids for lunch on a cold day.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, one handful chopped
2 28 oz cans of organic tomatoes
1 cup of water
1 lb. of soft organic tofu

Process:
Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add chili pepper flakes and chopped onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until onions are soft, but not brown.

Add garlic and one handful of chopped basil and sauté for two minutes.
Add tomatoes, salt, and water; simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add tofu, crumbling into sauce, heat thoroughly for 5 minutes.

Use immersion blender, or pour sauce into a standard blender (make sure to keep crack in lid, to relieve pressure. Careful not to blend when liquid is too hot). Add a handful of fresh basil. Thoroughly blend and serve immediately. Serve with toasted bread.