Recipes

I Made Chicken Noodle Soup

I woke up this morning in the dark. The power was out and I thought “Argh…this should be fun.”

Getting my daughter ready for school means getting her to eat an energy packed breakfast, packing her lunch, getting dressed and cleaned up for the day. It was actually kind of fun. She got to eat breakfast by flashlight while I packed her lunch box by candle light. She washed up with a pot of warm soapy water and all without complaint except wondering if the school was out too. That’s not really a complaint though.

We have been lucky with our power. When it is out it should not be the end of all. Panic shouldn’t set in because the lights are out. It is quiet where we our house is. I am surrounded by trees. Our neighbors are close enough to see but far enough to have space. There are pros of living here. I love it. When the power is out it is super quiet. I become aware of the day to day sounds I’ve gotten so accustomed to. I don’t even notice until they are gone. The hum of the refrigerator and the furnace kicking in. The electric buzzes and clicks of the tv and computers. All the little led lights of this ‘n’ that device. When the power comes on it’s a whole mess of sound as everything comes back to life. Breath in….breath out.

The days are getting shorter and cooler. Our furnace is kicking in and we have already had a couple of fires in the wood stove to warm the floors.

I’m looking forward to uping our eating habits to be heathier for us and the world. I am looking forward to more soups and broths to be our every day norm. I want to keep moving my way towards things that are less processed and less packaged. When it comes to lunches that means no more cans of chicken nooodle soup. One of the things on the menu that she is almost always guaranteed to eat. I have been experimenting with different homemade ones to come up with a healthier, tasty family and ‘mykid’ approved version.

I have found one that works pretty well for my particular eater. The ingredients are simple.

  • Chicken (bone in)
  • Water
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • onion
  • Garlic
  • Egg noodles
  • Salt
  • Bay leaf

I used my electric pressure cooker and a blender for this. In the instant Pot, put every thing but the noodles they go in shortly before serving as they will keep cooking into a mush if put in too soon. Set for soup or 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and chicken making sure to get any bones that have fallen off. The soup is actually pretty tasty as it is but in this case I am blending it to make a nice smooth soup base. Use an emmersion blender or let it cool and put it in a counter top one. Add salt to taste.

Shred chicken off the bone and add it back into the broth. Transfer into portions that can be frozen or kept in the fridge for a few days.

In the morning I can pull out a portion and heat it up. Add egg noodles and let it simmer for a bit before putting in her thermos.

By doing this:

I have less cans to recycle.

I have a better tasting meal with no additives.

FOOD, Recipes

Chickpeas! Made from Scratch

My newest pressure cooker adventure is cooking my own chickpeas instead of using the canned ones. I still keep some cans around for backup for those days when a recipe calls for them and I don’t have any made. I find a batch will keep in the fridge and I take what I need out of it as I go. In my instant pot I can make it in about 40 minutes from start to finish. Actually it’s a bit longer considering the heat up and cook down period so I have to plan an extra hour if I need it that day. It sure beats having to pre-soak and watching the stove, or the slow cooker. Oh, and the flavour! Much more intense than the cans.

I find a ratio of 1:3 works well. In this description I’ll double this because usually that will last a few days.

Here is how it goes:

  • rinse 2 cups of raw chickpeas and add to pot (pick out and sad looking ones)
  • add 6 cups of water
  • cover and adjust the manual timer to 35 minutes.
  • make sure the steam release is closed. I have forgotten to check before and wondered why the pressure would not build up. The cooker will just hiss away until it is closed.
  • After it finishes beeping at the end let it naturally cool down so you keep the flavours in.
  • I use a slotted spoon to transfer them into a container to go right in the fridge. Most of the water will be gone but there will be some left that can be turned into a fantastic soup. Last night I just added water, some chicken pieces that I had in the freezer, rice, and made a yummy congee snack for later. It would make a great base for a lot of dishes so you could also keep it in a glass jar in the fridge for a few days.

By doing this:

  1. I save in the cost
  2. I save the time
  3. I save the salt
  4. I have one less can to recycle

Buy doing this I add flavour and nutrients to my recipes!

FOOD, Recipes

An Alphaghetti Taste-alike

In my search for lunch ideas that a 7 year old would be happy to have in their lunch I have come up with this version of the infamous Heinz Alphaghetti that kids love so much. These ingredients are all items which I usually have on hand. Bonus! I will get right to it.

You will need:

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • clove of garlic (or garlic powder)
  • oregano
  • cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • pasta
Go that extra step and use organic and fresh whole ingredients if you wish, but I am just pleased to have an alternative with less sodium, additives and without the can.
In a pot blend together all ingredients except the cheese.
Boil the broth, tomato sauce, garlic, coriander, oregano, and cheese. Simmer over medium heat to cook the garlic and thicken a bit. If your kids like their sauce thicker either use cornstarch blended with broth or water and add it to the sauce or adjust the amount of cheese. I find when you cook the pasta in the sauce it brings the starches out anyway. The cheese thickens and adds tasty creamy texture so you can always play around with how much you add.
If you are eating it right away add the pasta and cook for about 7 minutes. otherwise you can portion the sauce out in glass containers and freeze it or keep it in the fridge for the next few days.
I found because the pasta will keep absorbing the sauce even after it is cooked it works best for me if I just cook enough for that days lunch portion and add it before it goes in the soup flask.
Recipes

Finally – A Good Chickpea Salad!

  • Chickpeas
  • Quinoa
  • Green pepper
  • Onion
  • Curry
  • Olive oil
  • Cayenne
  • Lemon juice
  • Salmon or chicken
  • Grated carrot

A couple of years ago we went to the ROM and for lunch I had chickpea salad from one of their eating areas. It was so good that it has never left my mind and once in a while I try to mimic it from my memory of flavors. This is the closest I have come and so today I am haaaapy!

Recipes

Macaroni and Cheese (Instant Pot)

3 cups uncooked macaroni

3 cups water

1/2 cup milk

Olive oil or butter

Salt

Grated cheese

  1. Put pasta, water, salt.
  2. Cook 4 minutes and quick release.
  3. Stir cheese and milk in and stir until melted.

Too quick and easy!

FOOD, Recipes

Mom Made Freezies

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For a while I have been wanting to make my own freezies. I make popsicles once in a while and this summer plan to do it more often. It is pretty quick and easy with the Magic Bullet because you can make small batches. This was the first time I made the freezies though and they turned out pretty good! I started simple with orange juice, peaches and Greek yogurt. I poured a bunch and added some blackberries to the blend before filling the remainder of the pouches. I used store bought juice but I bet freshly squeezed would taste so much better – next time!!

Mygirl liked the ones without the blackberries better which kind of surprised me a bit because she loves blackberries and will almost east a whole pint by herself if no one is paying attention.

Because you can reclose them the Zipzciles are kind of neat. You can easily refreeze one which is melting too fast on a hot-hot day or slow-eater day…I might order some regular long thin candy bags though because even though you can reuse the Zipzicles it is a bit of a pain to wash and dry them out. I might just use them to make water ice sticks ( instead of cubes).