Stupidly Simple: Radish Slaw Recipe

Print Friendly

Heather says:

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was finally able to take advantage of our local CSA. If you’ve never participated in a CSA, it’s a program where you pay a farm a predetermined amount at the beginning of the growing season. The farm then divides up the produce harvested between those who have contributed. Some CSAs also require a labor or time investment as part of the share, the one I belong to does not.

Joining a CSA isn’t a sure thing, if the crop is wiped out in a hailstorm or the weather just isn’t conducive to a productive year, you are susceptible to the same risk as the farmer. While I am a big advocate for supporting the local economy, a CSA may not be for you, if you are a super tight budget and having to buy vegetables after investing in a CSA would be a hardship.

There’s a little bit of adventure involved in being a part of the CSA, while you may have a good idea of what will be included in your share, sometimes some produce you normally wouldn’t buy shows up. I like the challenge. Not everyone likes to play Iron Chef though, so I’ll gladly do it for you.

This week’s challenge vegetable? Radishes. I don’t mind radishes, but I’m not the person who sits there and thinks, Gee a radish would really hit the spot.

So, when a bunch of radishes were included in my share I tried to think of how I could convince everyone else to eat them, since they weren’t my go to vegetable for spring side dishes.

Everyone in this household loves tacos, if I can put it in a taco, I guarantee that there will be no complaints. When I make fish tacos, I use a ridiculously easy cabbage slaw. I decided to experiment and see if this technique would work for radishes, which have a significant bitter bite. The acidity of the lime juice and the sweetness of the honey mellow out the bitter to a pleasant heat and crunch that is an excellent taco condiment and I bet it’d be good on a Southwestern wrap or burger, too.

Enjoy.

Radish Slaw on Chicken and Black Bean Taco Wraps

: Radish Slaw

: Easy condiment for tacos, wraps, and burgers

 Radish Slaw 2

  • 1 small bunch of radishes, cut into matchsticks (think thin strips)
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 TBSP chopped cilantro

  • Whisk the lime juice, honey, and cilantro together.
  • Toss with the radishes.
  • Allow to marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  • Re-toss before serving

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour refrigeration

Number of servings (yield):

 

Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup

Print Friendly

Heather says:

I saw some version of a sausage and kale soup floating around on Pinterest. Last week I wanted soup one night instead of whatever was planned*. The soup was so good, it became something that I had to be able to replicate. Around here, soups are made willy-let’s throw everything we want into a pot and then we can never have it again. Last week I paid attention and this week I replicated it and wrote down the recipe.

Loaded with kale and garlic, I plan on breaking out versions of this anytime I hear a sniffle from the kids and the Parmesan for garnish is completely optional. Oh, and if you hate all things hipster and kale, use spinach, just toss it in about a minute before serving. Kale is a much hardier plant and it takes a little time for the fibrous leaves to soften.

The sausage, onions, and garlic provide enough flavor that you don’t need to fiddle with a lot of seasoning. You may add black pepper, if you would like, but I wouldn’t add any more salt, unless you are using a low sodium sausage AND stock.

You are going to need a 6 quart stock pot, please don’t attempt this in anything smaller, you’ll run out of room. I love that there are plenty of freezable leftovers.

If you don’t like brothy soups, feel free to reduce the beef stock by a quart.

*If I change the menu, my mental guideline is that I need to have everything on hand. This helps reduce extra trips to the grocery store.

Hearty Sausage, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup

Sausage, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 lb bulk sausage -you may use Italian, I don’t.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2″ inch cubes
  • 3 quarts beef stock (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 3 cans white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced *increase or decrease depending on the likelihood of vampires
  • 5 large handfuls of kale
  • shredded or grated Parmesan cheese *optional

Instructions

  • Brown the sausage over medium low heat and add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. (You may substitute 2 cups of frozen, seasoning blend). Continue to stir frequently until the onions are translucent)
  • Add the diced sweet potato and just enough stock to cover the potatoes in liquid. Turn the heat up a little and cover tightly. (This allows the sweet potatoes to cook quickly.)
  • As soon as the sweet potatoes are fork tender, add the beef stock, beans, and garlic. Depending on your stove and cookware you may turn up the heat, if your stock pot isn’t thin. ( Thin cookware increases the likelihood of scorching).
  • When the soup reaches a simmer add the kale and cook until the greens are as tender as you prefer. (About ten minutes)
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan.

*Slow cooker variation – brown the sausage and then add it to the crock. Add all of the ingredients, except the kale and cook on low at least 5 hours. Turn the setting to high, add the kale and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Sausage Balls

Print Friendly

Heather says

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of our systems right now. It’s Saturday Night Live, so if you’re easily offended don’t click. The rest of us will embrace our inner twelve-year-olds.

Better now? Yeah, me neither, but hey I know two things:

The sausage balls are highly entertaining, I’ve been giggling all day.

The sausage balls are also dang good, getting three out of four kid’s approval. The fourth one is like that fifth dentist who never recommends anything, so don’t read too much into her opinion.

I based this recipe on one I found over at Plainchicken.com. She’s got a great site with a lot of realistic recipes that I’m looking forward to diving into.

When would one serve sausage balls? Anytime a savory, not exactly highbrow appetizer or hors d’oeuvres is wanted. For breakfast instead of  biscuits would work, too. Today they were lunch.

Here is my usual caveat: If you are cooking for someone with celiac disease you need to be certain the ingredients you choose are also gluten-free. Bulk sausage varies, depending on the brand as does shredded cheese. I am lucky, I cook for someone with a wheat allergy, not celiac (he may disagree with how lucky that is, food allergies aren’t fun). Trace amounts don’t seem to be an issue here, we watch for “hidden” sources but don’t have to stress cross-contamination. Do your homework.

 

 Gluten-Free Sausage Balls with Hash Browns and Cheddar

Gluten-Free Sausage Balls

Ingredients:

Directions:

I find these easier to assemble if done in this order, stir the sausage and cream cheese together before adding the flours. Follow with the cheese and hash browns.

If you have a stand mixer, use that, if not just be prepared for a little but of an upper arm workout.

Pre-Heat the oven to 400ºF.

Grab and grease a baking sheet.

Roll the dough into 1.5 inch balls and make slightly off-color jokes to anyone who appreciates that humor. (It took me 1.5 baking sheets and 5.75 jokes)

Bake 25-30 minutes. (I like mine a little darker?) You may opt to check a little sooner.

Enjoy.

Gluten-Free Chicken Gumbo

Print Friendly

Heather says:

I am ridiculously happy. I was recently doing my weekly shopping and found Pillsbury Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix near the regular flour at Publix. It isn’t the fanciest of grocery stores, but it’s generally a step above of say Food Lion. Long story short, this gluten-free flour mix already contains xanthan gum which mimics the elastic nature of wheat gluten. Happy day, I can now make a gluten-free roux that doesn’t break down. The gumbo was still thick after re-heating to take pack for the kids’ lunch.

Easily Make Gluten-FrAee Chicken Gumbo

And even better than staying thick? It’s a one-to-one substitution. Please note, you may notice that the roux doesn’t get as dark as a traditional roux. I gave up on a dark roux after 15 minutes. I was starving and really didn’t want to crank up the heat only to have to start over if the roux began to break down, so it was a blonde roux gumbo, but it was gluten-free which made everyone happy.

Shortcut – substitute frozen trinity and onion / pepper seasoning mix instead of chopping everything, for a much faster prep. (Yes, working full time and commuting the chauffeur the kids does cause me to take some short cuts some nights. Please don’t ask how often we have breakfast for dinner, now be quiet and eat your scrambled eggs)

: Chicken Gumbo

  • 3 – 5 lbs bone-in, chicken (chicken thighs work perfectly)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, with leaves, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb andouille sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning -please check that the brand you use is gluten-free
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 lb frozen okra pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix that contains xantham gum
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • OPTIONAL 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • file seasoning (when serving)
  • Hot Sauce (Tabasco or my favorite Louisiana Hot Sauce)

  • In a large pot (6 quart minimum) add the water, chicken, sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Bring the water to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer and cook over low – medium low heat for 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken, cool enough to handle, and debone, discarding the skin and bones. Return the chicken to the gumbo along with the okra and tomatoes.
  • In a heavy skillet heat the bacon fat or vegetable oil until hot, reduce the heat to low and sprinkle in the flour and stir carefully to begin making roux. Cook the roux until the color is somewhere between peanut butter and milk chocolate, depending on your preference.
  • Whisk the roux into the gumbo and cook over low heat (at a simmer) for twenty minutes.
  • Taste and add additional seasoning, if necessary.
  • In each bowl, stir in a scoop of cooked rice, a pinch of file, and a dash of hot sauce.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Boneless chicken alteration

Use 2 -3lbs, weighed before cooking.

Brown the chicken and dice. Skip to the roux making portion of the recipe and make the roux, then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic directly to the roux, just as you would in shrimp étouffée. Then slowly stir in the chicken stock you have substituted for water and then add the Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, chicken, okra and tomatoes. Stir well and simmer for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Lasagna: The Company Dinner

Print Friendly

The hearty sauce for this lasagna recipe is made from scratch and provides enough for a very large pan of lasagna. However, if you’re going to go the trouble of preparing a pan of lasagna, double the recipe and freeze one to bake at a later date. Also, don’t get overwhelmed looking at the ingredient list. The only things that get chopped are onions, garlic, and parsley. Everything else is a simple shake, stir, or squash in.

This is one of those meals, where you could sneak a book into the kitchen and rattle pans once in a while and people will assume you’ve been hard at work the whole time, even though there is a significant down time while the sauce simmers.

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of lasagna, serve the hearty meat sauce over spaghetti noodles or toss with ziti and mozzarella. Add some fresh spinach or sauteed mushrooms, bell pepper or zucchini and skip the immersion blender for some variety. It’s not rocket science, as long as you don’t stray too far from the bones of this recipe, you’ll have a fantastic meal.

Company’s Coming Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 1 lb hot or mild bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 6.5oz can tomato sauce (or just use one 15oz one, it’s not critical)
  • 2 TBSP white sugar (cuts the acidity of the sauce, omit if you use seasoned tomatoes as they frequently already contain sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil (or use 2 – 3x as much fresh
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 TBSP chopped fresh parsley – divided

In a large, heavy pot brown the beef and sausage over medium heat, drain and set aside. I set the meat on paper towels to soak up any remaining grease. Do not wash the pot, all of the browned bits from the beef and sausage add flavor to the final sauce. If you’d like, give the pan a quick wipe to remove any excess grease.

Onion garlic seasoningPlace the pot back on the burner over medium heat and add the diced onion, dried basil (wait if you are using fresh), Italian seasoning, fennel, salt, and pepper. Once the onion begins to soften, add the minced garlic.

To the onions, garlic, and seasoning add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar and if you choose, fresh basil. Return the meat to the pot, stir until well combined and lower the heat to low.

Cover and simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours. Alternately, place all the ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on low all day.

While the sauce simmers, boil 8oz of lasagna noodles according to the package directions.

Also, assemble the ricotta filling.

Add 2 TBSP of parsley at the very end of cooking, unless you skip the blender step. In this case, add all the parsley.

Immersion Blender

I don’t like big chunks of meat in spaghetti or lasagna sauce, except for meatballs. I never said it was rational, it’s just one of my quirks. So, I give the whole sauce a good whir with an immersion blender. I use this thing for everything from soups to smoothies; stick blenders can be found for as little as $25. I’m sure high-end ones are great, but I’ve been happy with my el cheap-o for several years. Add the rest of the parsley and stir.

Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna.

Ricotta filling:

  • 16oz ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb pkg frozen spinach, drained completely, squeeze the ever loving life out of it! I mean it

Mix all ingredients well.
That was rough, eh?

Other ingredients for lasagna assembly:

  • 1 lb mozzarella – grated
  • 1 generous cup grated Parmesan (use a Parmesan Romano mix if you’d like)
  • boiled lasagna noodles (the number depends on the size of your pan, use your judgement)

To assemble:

Preheat the oven 375F.

sauce layer Spoon just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.

noodle layer Add a single layer of noodles.

CHEESE Spread with 1/2 the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 1/3 the mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat layers and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

**optional tip** add a layer of thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and summer squash.

Cover tightly, but do NOT let the foil touch the cheese or you’ll yank off all the yummy goodness when it is removed. Alternately, add a layer of parchment paper between the lasagna and foil, this works very well.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. If the cheese isn’t nicely browned, broil just long enough to add some color.

**Warning, all the cheese makes this dish nuclear hot, allow it to cool some before serving.**

Enjoy.