I cooked so much this week, especially today, despite being busy with school. I had all of these veggies that were going to spoil if I didn't do something, so I did it! It took me less than 2 hours to make (not counting the slow cooking time):
*Baby Bok Choy and Veggies in Chinese White Wine Sauce* -- I sauteed a chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, and 1/2 inch chopped ginger in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil, added 1 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock, 1/4 cup Vermouth, carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and the baby bok choy. I covered and let it steam for 8 min, then flipped the baby bok choy over and let it go another 6, adding chopped red bell pepper, scallions, and some arrowroot powder(for thickening, you can also use corn starch or flour). Seasoned with salt and pepper.
--It's DELICIOUS! I can't wait to eat it tomorrow over rice with steamed salmon.
*Bolognese Sauce* -- Sauteed & browned 3 chopped carrots, 2 stalks celery, 2 cups mushroom, 2 cloves garlic, and 2 small onions in 3 tbsp bacon grease and 1 tbsp butter, added 4 cups raw spinach and cooked til tender... removed veggies from the pan, and added 1 lb ground grass-fed sirloin and 1 lb ground pork... browned them, then added the veggies back in, along with 2 tbsp tomato paste, 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, 2 tsp oregano, 1 bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Let it simmer on low until it done (maybe 30-45 min? adding water once when it looked dry). After it was done, I added chopped parsley and a splash of heavy grass-fed cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
--Again with the deliciousness! I can't wait to eat this sauce on a spaghetti squash later in the week!
*Shredded Enchilada-Style-Chicken and Beans in the Slow Cooker* (3 lb chicken breasts, 1 packet homemade taco seasoning, 1 chopped onion, 2 sliced poblano peppers and 2 minced jalapenos, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 cans green chiles, 1 can undrained small red beans, 1 undrained black beans, and 1 packet of red enchilada sauce). Cooked on low for 6-7 hours. After it was done, I added some cayenne pepper and some salt and pepper to taste. It made a TON... so I froze 3/4 of it for quick meals later (I can make enchiladas with it or pair it with fresh cilantro and onion for tacos, or even just pour it over rice).
Finally, *Guacamole* to go with the chicken, because I love it, and because I tend to always have it in my fridge (I eat it wrapped with turkey slices, on nut-crackers, with raw red peppers, carrot, celery sticks...).
-- In a bowl, combine 2 avocados, 3-4 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1-2 tbsp minced onion, 1 small minced jalapeno, pinch of coarse salt to taste, a touch of cumin powder, and 1 small lime juiced. Mash to desired consistency with a potato masher or something big and heavy, and spoon it into an air-tight container. It keeps in the fridge for about 3 days, and placing cling wrap over the top will help prevent browning.
Oh, and Yesterday!
*Chuck Roast in the Slow Cooker* (Refrigerated Overnight) -- This is SUPER easy and super good. Put 2-3 lb of thawed grass-fed chuck roast in the slow cooker coated with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add 4 sliced carrots, 2 chopped onions, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, and 2 cups quartered red potatoes... 2 cups of beef or chicken stock, 1 packet of onion soup mix, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar(optional), 1/2 cup of Burgundy (or cabernet sauvignon or any dry red wine), 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 4 whole cloves of garlic, and a few bay leaves (tucked down into the liquid). Cook on low for about 7-8 hours, then refrigerate overnight (it improves the texture of the meat if you allow it to cool and congeal and then be reheated). Warm it up in a pan on the stove and reduce the sauce to a gravy consistency (adding corn starch or arrowroot powder if necessary). Salt and pepper to taste.
--Best thing ever :) The boyfriend agrees. The gravy was so delicious that we had to make some gluten-free toast to dip into it so it didn't go to waste.
So that's it... I am thoroughly impressed with myself. I've managed to use all of the produce in the fridge, and now I have food for the rest of the week (and some in the freezer, too). Moreover, I didn't need to use a recipe for any of this, and that's the best part! -- I've been cooking so much this past year or so that I am now able to look at the raw ingredients, come up with some ideas, and execute them to make delicious foods on a whim, even while busy with other stuff going on.. and that's a life skill I'm proud of. No one taught me to cook (except myself, Alton Bron, and Julia Child); it takes a long time and a lot of practice, but it's worth it. 5 years ago all I ate was fast food and takeout, pizza and sandwiches... but now I'm making this sort of stuff on a daily basis -- and that's something I need to celebrate and be grateful for; and I think it's going to make healthy eating while in school a heck of a lot easier.
So anyway, I hope someone tries one of these recipes, because they are ALL really, really good. Also, the recipes from Aug 20th that I posted were amazing (I might make the pesto chicken again next week!). OK -- Back to studying!
Update: My homemade taco seasoning was a mashup of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne..... I didn't make a recipe, but I would say I put them in a 3:2:1:1:1:1:1 ratio...stored the whole thing in a jar, and for that recipe I used about as much as a packet that you buy at the store (maybe 3-4 tbsp), plus about 1/4 tsp brown sugar and 1/4 tsp oregano in the recipe I made (just because I thought it would be good... and it was). When the recipe was done, I did add a bit more salt also, because it was a LOT of food, so the sodium content of each serving was still relatively low.
Also, the "simply organic" brand taco seasoning is really good if you have that at a store near you, just a tad expensive.
I had some of the chicken this morning over 1/2 cup parboiled brown rice, with 1/2 oz cheddar grated over it and some fresh cilantro, and homemade guacamole on the side... absolutely delicious, guilt-free Mexican food :)