Tag Archives: food

Tomato-Basil Chicken Stew

After I posted about this on Facebook, I got several requests for the recipe, so here it is:

What I used:

  • 1.5 lbs. chicken breast (from Bethel Trails Farm, thawed)
  • 1 bag of (frozen) October beans that I got from the Farmer’s Market this fall (you could use the canned bean of your choice from the grocery)
  • 2 (28 oz. Mason) jars of whole tomatoes (with their juices), which I got from the Lazy Farmer at the Farmer’s Market this fall. You could use canned from the store.
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 BIG handfuls of baby spinach (kale would work, too, I think)
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh basil
  • pinch or two of salt
  • a few shakes of black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

tomato basil soup 2What I did:
I put the tomatoes in the crock pot first, and I smashed them up with my big wooden spoon. Then, I threw everything else but the spinach in the crockpot and gave it a quick stir. I threw the spinach in on top and set that baby on low for 6 hours.  6 hours in, I checked it, and it needed a little more time.   After another hour, it was good to go, so I stirred, shredded up the chicken, stored some more, and served with some shredded parmesan cheese.


This was REALLY easy.  And it was VERY yummy.  The size would be good for a family.  Trent didn’t eat any, so I ate it for dinner and then lunch a few times during the week.  I froze the rest.  I think this is a good freeze-for-later meal.

Leave a comment

Filed under In My Kitchen, My Life, Uncategorized

Black Bean Burgers of Awesome

So I’ve never been much of one for veggie burgers. But in keeping with my commitment to new, healthier foods in the new year, I decided to give these a shot.

What I Used:

  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (via food processor, of course)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (again, via food processor, of course)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 3 slices toast (turned into bread crumbs via food processor…of course)

(Note: the recipe I linked calls for bell peppers, but I think I’ve mentioned a few times how my husband doesn’t eat those)

What I Did:

Mucho Yummy-o! I didn’t even tell Trent what I was making before I had him try this. He agreed with my assessment: these are a keeper. We just had them for the second time, and this time I made a double batch, freezing four patties for an easy dinner sometime in the very busy future. And I highly recommend you give them a chance, too! Trent enjoyed some frozen french fries with his, while I had some of my beloved Mojo Corn Salad–which was a perfect accompaniment.

Leave a comment

Filed under In My Kitchen, Just For The Health of It

Homemade Pizza Love

I am pizza lover. Pure and simple. I could probably survive on pizza alone and be completely happy. And I like all kinds of different pizzas. Unfortunately, ordering pizza is both expensive and (generally) unhealthy.

So since my 2014 commitment is to cook more, order out less, and eat healthier, I figured–after 2 months without it–that I needed to ry some homemade pizza.I could have gone all out and made on of those cauliflower crusts I’ve got save on Pinterest. But I didn’t. I bought crust.  In fact, I bought some thin & crispy personal-sized crusts because I was pretty sure Trent would want pepperoni and LOTS of cheese and have no interest in my planned veggie pizza. I may have bought the crust, but I did make the sauce myself instead of relying ons something in a jar.

I used this recipe. Here’s confession number 2: while I think it definitely would’ve been better in both taste and health to use real tomatoes, I did not do that this time (I plan to next time–maybe this summer when tomatoes are more in season)

Of course, sauce alone does not a pizza make! I decided my pizza would be veggies, specifically mushrooms, red onions, spinach, Kalamatta olives. I actually had a dream about making this pizza last weekend, which is what started this whole thing. So I basically followed my dream to make mine. 😉  First, I chopped up all my veggies (except the baby spinach leaves).  Then, I sautéed them in a pan with EVOO over medium heat until the spinach leaves wilted. I used feta cheese for mine because feta is one of the lower calories, healthier cheeses (so sayeth Google). Also, it’s just a yummy treat on pretty much everything.  I used a store-bought 3-cheese pizza blend for Trent’s pizza.  We actually got three meals out of this: 2 dinners and a lunch (3 total mini pizzas each!).  The first time I did Trent’s I put the meat under the cheese; he requested that I put the pepperoni slices on top of the cheese to see if it would make his pepperoni crunchier, which it did.  Overall, this was a hit–and something I’ll do again.

Leave a comment

Filed under In My Kitchen, Just For The Health of It

Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans

So far I’ve been doing pretty good with my new commitment to healthier eating. Part of that commitment is a commitment to cooking more meals–you know, as opposed to take out, delivery, or heating up frozen, processed foods. I didn’t learn a lot about cooking growing up, so this is really an adventure of sorts. I’m not sure how I’d do it without Google, which comes in handy for figuring out strange cooking terms I’ve never hear before in addition to figuring out techniques for making food.

Another thing we’re trying to do is sit down at the kitchen table to eat together and talk–you know, as opposed to sitting in front of the TV, eating off TV trays. We even got some new chair cushions for the kitchen chairs, so they’re actually comfortable enough to sit on for more than just a minute. So far, so good. I hope we can keep it up–I’m really enjoying it.

Anyway–one of my recent kitchen adventures was this Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans recipe. We had a piece of salmon in the freezer and a bag of frozen lima beans. All the other ingredients were also already on hand (this is really one of the keys to successfully making good, healthy homemade meals on a regular basis–keeping the kitchen stocked with the right ingredients, so they’re always on hand). I’ve been trying to do that, too, and again, so far, so good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Even though I accidentally put all the paprika into the yogurt mixture, this came out good. Both Trent and I enjoyed it, and Trent noted that the sauce would be good to use on other fish dishes in the future. He really liked it. So we’re filing this one under “Make Again.” Success.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Grilled Tuna and Broccoli w/ Garlic Drizzle

My latest kitchen adventure in the new year was this recipe for grilled tuna. As it happens, Food Lion had some frozen Ahi Tuna steaks on sale last week when I was there, so this was a good choice.  I used a little less garlic than the recipe called for because our tuna steaks were smaller, and it just seemed like 2 tablespoons was a lot.  Otherwise, I basically followed the recipe as written…with the only change actually being an error. See what happened was I was doing more than one thing at a time–which never works that well. I was trying to read the recipe, cook the broccoli and prep the tuna.  So where the recipe says, “Combine 1 teaspoon oil mixture and Broccolini; toss.” I actually put the whole mixture in with the broccoli in the pan.  So then, I made another little extra side of garlic drizzle in case we needed it for the fish.  While I was doing that, some of the broccoli burned just a bit. This is why there are also no pictures of the broccoli part of the recipe in the slideshow below. But all in all, it was a delish meal–Trent agreed–so we’ll probably do this one again in the future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Stress Reliever Smoothie

As promised, I decided to try this Stress Reliever Smoothie from my “Just for the Health of It” board on Pinterest.  I’m not sure if it actually reduced my stress, but I do know it wasn’t one of my favorites.  Even after I made some modification, it was just too chunky. By the time I got to work, I had to add more water to it because otherwise I’d have needed a spoon to finish it.  Like I said, I did make some modifications. First of all, I did not include the optional ginger root because I didn’t have any.  Second, I included some coconut water (because I did have that on hand). In the photos you’ll see my collection of ingredients.  I had the Greek yogurt out, but then I re-read the recipe and discovered that wasn’t in there.  That’s when I grabbed the Coconut water, because obviously, I would need more than just 1/4 lemon’s worth of juice to pull this off. Notably, I think that’s because, upon closer review, this is supposed to be made in a juicer, but whatever.

I think I’ve decided celery doesn’t go in smoothies.  And this isn’t one I’m likely to repeat exactly again.

So today’s green smoothie had Coconut water, spinach, 15 grapes, a tangerine, and some Greek yogurt.  I know I used grapes before, but I think I’m going to add them, with celery, to the list of veggies not to use in a smoothie. Not so smooth–too much chewing involved.

Leave a comment

Filed under In My Kitchen, Just For The Health of It, My Life

Made Up Mahi Mahi & Quinoa

So…I was putting some new groceries in the freezer when I discovered we still had some Mahi Mahi in there we hadn’t used. And this dinner was borne of that discovery…

It is basically made up of stuff we had around the house that seemed like it would make a decent dinner.  I had no idea what I was doing, so I was very pleased with the way it turned out.

I have never cooked quinoa before, nor even eaten it.  But I picked up a bag at Trader Joe’s the other day because I’d heard so much good stuff about IMG_6871it. I mean, it was all the rage in 2013, so why not finally give it a try in 2014, right? And I’m trying to eat healthier, and quinoa (which I’ve mispronounced in my head for the last year–thankfully, never out loud) is apparently some sort of super food that we’ve been aware of since at least 1955 but has only recently become vogue. Google it.

I figured I needed some sort of marinade for the fish, so that was first up. I pondered what to do with it while it thawed.  I checked Pinterest and Google, of course, but ultimately, did sort of my own thing–although I was partially inspired by this lime marinade. Here’s what I came up with:

Made-up Mahi Marinade

Then, I needed a side. I couldn’t decide what to do here. We had some broccoli, and I was thinking about it, but it didn’t seem right, so I threw open the cupboards thinking “orzo!” when I realized we had none….but there was that magic quinoa. I was a little afraid of it, to be honest.  But I resolved to make it.  I didn’t just want to dump some plain SEED on the plate. We had some cherry tomatoes I had picked up from TJ’s with another recipe in mind, and, thus, I decided upon this:

Quinoa with tomatoes and basil vinaigrette

The end result: thumbs up from both me and the husband.  Now, that I have it all recorded, we’ll definitely do this again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Seafood Blend with Garlic & Basil Linguine and Romano Cheese

So a few days ago, in honor of the new year, I went a little pin crazy over on Pinterest, pinning new, healthy, quick recipes.  See–I need to get back to getting healthy.  I really fell off the wagon last year.  So there’s no time like the present to get back on, right?  My new thing is Mediterranean or Italian meals made with fresh ingredients whenever possible. That started with an e-mail I subscribe to, Daily Recipes and was reinforced when I read this article called “Why Your Grandparents Didn’t Have Food Allergies” and this one by a mother who moved to Italy and what she learned about our culture, theirs, and eating habits. Plus, I’ve always like Mediterranean and Italian food in general.

Tonight I tried my hand at making something based of one of those pins. Let’s call it “Seafood Blend with Garlic & Basil Linguine and Romano Cheese.” Basically, we were at Trader Joe’s, and I saw the frozen bag of Seafood Blend, which has scallops and shrimp and calamari rings, and I thought, “Hey, this will

Garlic Basil Linguine from Trader Joe's

Garlic Basil Linguine from Trader Joe’s

probably be just as good as seared scallops…and maybe easier.” So I got the bag. (SN: I will probably actually try searing scallops one day–just not today)  From there, I pretty much followed the recipe with a few exceptions:

  1. I don’t know where people get fresh linguine, but it ain’t in any of the groceries near my house. Instead, I hit got a bag of garlic and basil linguine noodles from TJ’s.
  2. I killed my herb garden. Yup, that’s right. So I used that cool “as close to fresh” basil from the grocery store.
  3. Because I used the frozen blend, I traded the directions in step two about searing the scallops for the direction on the bag, which told me to cook the seafood in a pan with oil (I use Extra Virgin, obviously) and to add garlic if desired. I desired (obviously).

So. It was pretty good. I would definitely make it or a variation again. It wasn’t too hard or time-consuming. And it tasted good.  Plus, it was better for us than, say, ordering another pizza.  I hope to be able to take the time to cook more actual meals for us over the coming months.  I’m going to try anyway. We’ll see.

I’m also hoping that I can get our friend Shellie from down the street to join me in a “Girlfriends’ Diet Plan” like I read about in Eating Well magazine this month (Come on, Shellie, come on!).

Oh, and start going back to the gym on the regular.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Leave a comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen, My Life

Zucchini-Sausage Casserole

Pretty sure anyone who knows me even a little by this point knows I’m a one-dish-meal-lover.

So with Trent and I working such crazy mismatched schedules, I instituted “Casserole Tuesday.” He works late Tuesday and Thursday nights, so I decided that on Tuesdays, I’d make casserole that would serve as lunch the next day and the next…

Recently, I tried this one: Zucchini Sausage Casserole. I went to he Farmer’s Market, where one of the local farms always has sausage (and a variety of other meats), and I remembered this recipe whilst there. This recipe calls for turkey sausage, but really? Who are we kidding? Over here at Casa de Hulehan, we eat real meat! So I picked up some good local pork sausage, grabbed some (4) zucchini at another booth, and headed home to try this (modified) one out.

We really did like this. We ate it as a meal with a side salad. But I think it would make a cool side dish to take to a family gathering (look, out, family, I may be bringing this next time!).

Here’s what else I needed:

  • 1 x 10 3/4ounce canreduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 x 8 ounce cartonlight sour cream
  • 4cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Here’s what I did:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Trying Something New with Eggplant

Every now and again I decide to go all experimental in the kitchen and do one of those recipes that sounds interesting but like nothing I’d ever actually make. Also I just got a subscription to Eating Well magazine courtesy of an Amazon gift card someone gifted me.

Other fun facts that need to precede this post: I’m all bout one-dish meals. I think the crock-pot is an amazing and necessary tool. And I dig make-ahead meals because if I can make ’em ahead of my crazy-busy work week everything in the week will go just that much smoother (all of which you already know if you’ve read any of my cooking posts and/or ever had a conversation about cooking with me f2f).

That brings us to this dish: Eggplant and Chickpea Stew.

I read about this one, and it sounded cool, so I pinned it for later. Then, I was at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and I saw some eggplants for sale. I remembered that I’d pinned this, so I snatched up an eggplant (buy and eat local!). Of course, I didn’t exactly remember the recipe, and I didn’t bother pulling out my cool new smartphone to check it, so I got one eggplant when the recipe calls for two. Whatever. It’s something new…who knows if we’ll like it?? So I decided to just half the whole thing.cooking in September 024b

But halving the recipe was not my only modification.  I also remembered while at the grocery the next day that I needed chickpeas. I adore chickpeas, so I’m pretty use to grabbing a can or two for salads and stuff. Well. The recipe actually calls for dried chickpeas. No mind. It also tells you to soak them over night. Canned chickpeas are in some juice, so I figure that’s basically the same thing. Plus, it’s so much easier, right? Next up: mushrooms. My husband doesn’t like them. Won’t eat them. So naturally I took to Facebook to solicit feedback: “If you were going to make something that called for mushrooms, but your husband doesn’t eat them, what might *you* use instead?” I got LOTS of answers–everything from cheese to bacon to potatoes to “tiny cut up mushrooms and a good poker face” (possibly my favorite).

Probably the most helpful came from other people who cook far more than I do (one of whom is in culinary school). Jo K. said this:

 Mainly the mushrooms are to create umami, that smoky savory flavor. You could try roasted eggplant or garlic, maybe a little soy sauce–something like that might give the same effect on the flavor balance.

And Baillee W. offered this:

If ur going for an earthy flavor, u can use a splash Worcestershire sauce.

Well, this recipe already has roasted eggplant as a main ingredient, and it already has garlic, so I went with Baillee’s idea and subbed in Worcestershire sauce.

By this point, I was bound and determined to get this eggplant chickpea party started, so I started pulling other ingredients out of their places.  This brings me to my last modification: I used cinnamon powder, not a cinnamon stick because I wasn’t about to go out and buy some cinnamon sticks, and I don’t know who keeps those around the house (except maybe my MIL during applesauce-making season).

With all that said, here’s how it went:

1 Comment

Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen