Monday, March 29, 2010

Easy Cheesy Tortilla Soup

When my mom was here helping after Andrew was born, she took this recipe along and made some for us! It was super yummy! Although its not technically all-natural, whole food-y, its still really yummy and there is really nothing "bad" in it!! You could easily make it more "healthy" by using soaked beans, make your own refried beans, use organic free-range chicken broth, etc. I think the idea of this soup, though, is to be easy and frugal.

Eat it with tortilla scoops or tortilla chips. Our favorite are the Garden of Eatin' organic blue corn tortilla chips shown here:


And here's the recipe:

Easy, Cheesy Tortilla Soup

1 can fat-free refried beans (16oz)

1 can black beans, drained (15oz)

1 can chicken broth, reduced sodium (14.5oz)

1 1/2 cup frozen corn

3/4 cup chunky salsa

3/4 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup water

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese - divided

"Scoops" or other tortilla chips

1) Combine 1st 7 ingredients, bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes

2) Add 1 cup of the cheese - cook on low and heat until melted.

Sprinkle with remainder of cheese or mix into soup...ENJOY!!!!

*works well to make a double batch and freeze half!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Melissa's Stir Fry

One of my favorite meals is stir-fry. I always loved Chinese food for that reason. I have been trying to make that perfect-tasting sauce at home, as well as get those veggies perfectly cooked yet still with a bit of crunch to them.

I THINK I have perfected it and wanted to share my "recipe" so you can try it at home too. Feel free to adjust as needed - I am not going to put "measurements" in this recipe as I just sort of eyeball it and add things to taste!!!

Here's what you'll need:
Brown rice (or sometimes, if I don't use meat in my stirfry I will use Quinoa instead of rice - since quinoa is a complete protein)
Veggies of choice: I usually use carrots (sliced), broccoli (small pieces), sugar peas, and mushrooms (sliced)
onion cut in larger chunks, about 1/2 cup
4-6 garlic cloves
chicken, or meat of choice (optional), cut into bite-sized pieces
chicken broth
Tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
cornstarch or arrowroot powder (as a thickener)
honey, rapadura, or other natural sweetener

1. Get the rice cooking since it takes the longest amount of time to cook.
2. Then, in a LARGE wok or saute pain, I saute the chicken in some chicken broth (or you could use olive oil or coconut oil). Once cooked, removed from heat and set aside.
3. Next, saute/steam the veggies in some chicken broth - I put the carrots in first since they take the longest....after a couple minutes I add the garlic, onions and broccoli....adding mushrooms right at the end. Cooking time depends on how crunchy/mushy you like your veggies. Just keep tasting them as they cook.
4. In the meantime, in a small bowl mix the soy sauce (about 1/2 cup) along with about 1/4 cup cold water....and stir in about 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
5. When veggies are ALMOST cooked to your liking, add the chicken in.
6. Next, with heat still at the medium level, stir in the soy sauce mixture and stir until thickened.
7. Stir in basil and ginger to taste - then add more chicken broth if too thick and more soy sauce if more needed.
8. Serve over rice!

Sloppy Joe's in a Bowl

The online e-course I am taking has been great! I am learning new tricks to make our meals more nutritious! The great thing is, even when you prepare and eat natural, whole foods, it can STILL be TASTY!!!

I THINK my family likes it that I enjoy trying new recipes from time to time. The most recent one came from the e-course and is called "Sloppy Joe's in a Bowl" - they were SUPER yummy!!! My kids loved them and Bryan said more than a few times "this is SO good"! So, I think its a hit and will go into the menu planning rotation.

I wanted to share the recipe with you - the original can be found on the GNOWFLINS website, but I have copied and pasted it below for your convenience. Here it is! I only had black olives, shredded raw cheddar cheese and plain whole-milk yogurt (in place of sour cream) on hand, but I will look forward to trying some of her other suggested toppings next time I make them!!!
--->NOTE: she adds the step of soaking the rice overnight the night before to reduce phytic acid - i am learning about this in the online course and you can read more about the benefits of doing so HERE.


***(she said that for company, she stretches the meat by adding 4 cups of cooked green lentils to the meat mixture, while (just about if not entirely) doubling the sauce ingredients.)****

  • 2 cups dry brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water plus 2 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or ground buffalo)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • garnishes: sliced olives, thinly sliced or diced onions, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and/or homemade cultured dairy, chopped cilantro, shredded raw cheese

In a 2 to 3 quart pot, soak the rice in the 2 cups of water and raw apple cider vinegar overnight. The next day, add the 2 cups stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy and tender. This will be about a half hour if the grains have soaked overnight. Remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While rice is cooking, put the ground beef in a 4 to 6 quart stock pot. Over medium heat, brown the beef. Add onions and garlic. Saute until soft. In a 4 cup measuring cup, whisk together: water, tomato paste, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and honey. Add sauce mixture to meat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill bowls with rice, then meat sauce, then desired garnishes.