Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sunday Breakfast: Huevos Rancheros

The inspiration for this dish came from Melissa d’Arabians show Ten Dollar Dinners on Food Network. To see her original recipe, follow this link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/huevos-rancheros-recipe/index.html

Since then, I switched it up to make it dairy free and played with the ingredients to make it my own. This is a quick and easy breakfast that you can make over and over and never make it the same way twice! Also, one of the nice things about this recipe is that is just as easy to make for two or ten people.

Huevos Rancheros 1

To start, the tortillas of your choice. In our house, this translates to whatever tortillas I happen to have in the freezer. The tortilla of the day today is a six-inch flour tortilla.

Huevos Rancheros 4

Coat the tortillas with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Very carefully press the tortillas into a large muffin tin to make little cups.

Huevos Rancheros 2

The ingredients always vary depending on what we have on hand. Today, I took six strips of this gorgeous thick cut peppered bacon and cut it into small pieces. This could be sausage, ham, mushrooms, even greens. Whatever you are in the mood for.

Huevos Rancheros 5

Into my favorite cast iron skillet to brown. Once all the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned nicely, remove to a paper towel lined plate and drain the grease from the pan.

Huevos Rancheros 3

Rinse and strain one can of pinto beans. This can basically be any can of beans you have in your cupboard. Black beans, kidney beans, or pigeon peas would work just as nicely.

Huevos Rancheros 6

Into the skillet go the pinto beans to make the filling for the tortillas.

Huevos Rancheros 7

Add the bacon back into the skillet as well. Can I just say, at this point, the house smells phenomenal!

Huevos Rancheros 8

Also add in one can of unsalted diced tomatoes. Using unsalted diced tomatoes instead of flavored ones allows you to control the sodium levels in your dish. Since I used the bacon, I didn’t add any other salt to the dish. Next add in a few tablespoons of your favorite salsa and/or hot sauce. Stir well to combine.

Huevos Rancheros 10

Scoop several generous spoonfuls of the bean mixture into each cup. You want them to be filled about three-quarters of the way. Crack one egg into each cup. Into the oven they go! Bake for about six minutes until the eggs just start to set around the edges.

Huevos Rancheros 11

Pull them out of the oven and top with non-dairy cheddar cheese. Daiya is the brand of choice in our house, but feel free to use what you have. Of course, if you are not dairy free, cheddar or monterey jack cheese would work well here. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and back into the oven they go.

Huevos Rancheros 12

Eight minutes or so later, the edges of the tortillas are nicely browned and the eggs are cooked through. Adjust the time based on how you prefer your eggs. For very loose yolks six to seven minutes would work. For harder yolks, let them go nine to ten minutes.

Huevos Rancheros 13

Be very careful with this next step! Lift the individual cups out onto your plate. They will be hot! Also, you do not want to break them. Top with a small amount of dairy free sour cream. Of course, regular sour cream would work as well. I served them along side the leftover bean filling today. No need to let all that yumminess go to waste!

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Matzo Ball Soup

First, let me apologize for breaking my routine the past few weeks and not posting bi-weekly. No excuses, but I have been recovering from some nasty respiratory issues. Much as I love this time of year, it does not love me in return!

One thing I made to comfort myself during my recovery is my take on Matzo Ball Soup AKA Jewish Penicillin. I figured it couldn’t hurt and would be tasty too!

I know this will not be a surprise to those of you who read often, but I strayed from tradition. Instead of using chicken, I used turkey. I couldn’t help myself! I had this beautiful turkey carcass from thanksgiving begging to be turned into broth!

Matzo Ball Soup 1

First, to make the broth! I used our Thanksgiving turkey carcass for this job. Put the turkey in  a large stock pot and cover with water. I used my twelve quart pasta pot with the colander insert to make for easy straining later. The only seasoning is the remnants of what we used to season the turkey for cooking.

Bring to a boil to get things started, then turn down to medium-low to simmer away for several hours. This will develop the flavor and allow any left over meat to fall right off the bone. Once strained you will have a broth of beautiful depth. I do not season at this point, preferring instead to season the dish I use the broth in.

This made enough broth for this recipe and to freeze three gallon size bags for future recipes as well.

Matzo Ball SOup 4

For the matzo balls, beat four eggs then mix in four tablespoons of vegetable oil, once cup of matzo meal, four tablespoons of the turkey broth, and a pinch of salt. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate for about thirty minutes.

Matzo Ball Soup 5

When you pull the matzo mixture out of the fridge form your matzo balls. They can be whatever size you like. I went medium size so you get several per bowl. Word of advice? Moisten your hands with a little bit of water, or they will stick!

Matzo Ball SOup 7

Fill a four quart stock pot three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil. For extra flavor, you could use some of the broth instead. Add in the matzo balls and turn down to medium-low to simmer for thirty to forty minutes. When finished they will float and look nice and fluffy.

Matzo Ball Soup 2

Meanwhile, thinly slice two carrots and two celery stalks. Into a skillet over medium heat they go.

Matzo Ball SOup 3

Add a small amount of the broth to cover the vegetables and allow to simmer until tender. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Matzo Ball Soup 8

By the time the matzo balls are done, the carrots and celery will be nice and tender. Place a couple of the matzo balls in a bowl, add in some of the carrots and celery along with some turkey meat you got from the turkey carcass you used to make your broth. Cover with some broth and you are ready to eat!

I didn’t feel the need to add to much seasoning to this soup because my turkey had been so well seasoned. This soup hits the spot whether you are sick or well, so don’t wait until you are sick to enjoy it!


Crock Pot Veggie Chili

While pondering what to bring in for a work pot-luck lunch, I came up with this recipe. One of my co-workers is vegan and I wanted to make sure that he would be able to eat at least one of the dishes. It also needed to satisfy the non-vegan crowd. Two other criteria, it needed to be crock-pot friendly and easily transportable. Most importantly, it needed to be delicious!

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 2

Start off with one nice size onion and a head of garlic. Yes, the whole head! It is good for you! Chop the onion. Peel the garlic and leave whole, so that it can be put through the garlic press.

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 3

Next chop three carrots and three stalks of celery. Unfortunately, I think the celery got buried under the carrots here!

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 7

I like my food to be colorful, so next I chopped two red peppers, two orange peppers and two yellow peppers.

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 8

This is the only part of the recipe where we stray from the crock pot. I like to saute my veggies a little first. This can even be done the night before to make the rest of the preparation easy in the morning. All the veggies go into a skillet over medium-high heat with some extra virgin olive oil. Saute until they just begin to get tender, three to five minutes or so.

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 9

Now, for the crock pot. First the veggies and two cans of unsalted diced tomatoes go in.

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 10

Next add in one can each of rinsed and drained pinto beans, white beans, and garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas).

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 11

Rough chop three zucchini, and a half pound each of shiitake and cremini mushrooms. The chopping is another step that can be done the night before. The mushrooms give the chili a meaty texture so that the non-vegans won’t miss a thing.

Also add in four cups of vegetable broth. Homemade is of course best, but unsalted store-bought works well in a pinch. It may not look like enough at first, but the zucchini and mushrooms will release some water as well.

Season with ancho chili powder, chipotle morita flakes, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Since unsalted tomatoes and broth were used, now is the time to get some salt in here.

Crock Pot Veggie Chili 12

Sorry for the blurry picture! Simmer on low for five to six hours or on high for two to three hours. This recipe fills a six quart crock pot to the rim! More than enough food to bring to a pot luck party, or to make at home and freeze half the batch.

Serve all on its own or over rice. Great toppings include diced avocado, non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy cheddar, or whatever your heart desires. I leave out some of the ancho chili powder, chipotle morita flakes and cumin so people can add spice if they like. I know I like mine hot!


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