Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Bean with Wild Rice Casserole

I am not really a fan of green bean casserole but my kids love it. I do like rice and we always have some in the house. I made this casserole this weekend using things I had on hand. A little twist on the traditional, but I think it turned out great.

3 cans green beans, drained
1 can Cream of Celery soup
1 C wild rice
1-1/2 C chicken broth
1 T minced garlic
1/4 C dried milk
1 C Stuffing Mix

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Pour green beans in 2 quart casserole dish.

In a separate bowl mix together the soup, rice, chicken broth, minced garlic and dried milk. Add to the green beans and stir together.

Sprinkle the stuffing mix over the top and cover casserole with aluminum foil (or use cover of casserole dish if it has one).

Cook for 1 hour, removing the cover for the last 10 minutes to allow the stuffing mix to get slightly crispy. Let rest out of oven for 5 minutes before serving. Casserole will thicken slightly when cooling.


You may take out the dried milk but it does help add a creamy flavor as well as some calcium. If you want to use fresh milk or cream, substitute part of the chicken broth 1:1.

If you wanted to use fresh or frozen green beans, substitute 1-1/2 C beans for each can.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweet / Spicy Basmati Rice

2 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 T mustard seed
1/2 C minced onion
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 small hot pepper, seeded and minced
2 C uncooked basmati rice (can substitute brown rice)
1 t sea salt
4 small, firm figs, diced
4 C water

Put EVOO in a skillet or pot over medium heat. Add mustard seed, onion, ginger, and hot pepper. Cook until onion softens and becomes slightly transluscent. Add rice and stir to keep rice from clumping. Add salt, figs, and 3-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Stir, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat off, remove from heat (keeping covered), and allow to finish cooking another 10 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings

If you use brown rice, use 1/4 C less water


Substitute butter for the EVOO.

Choose the variety of hot pepper according to your taste. Ex: Use a banana pepper for a more mild flavor, jalapeño for medium and habanero pepper for hot.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rice in Curry Sauce

1/2 cup basmati or brown rice
1/2 C Green Mung Beans (also known as Chinese Bean Sprouts), soaked overnight or sprouted
1 clove garlic grated or minced (or mashed with a mortar and pestle)
1/2 small onion, chopped in fine bits
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 T curry powder
1 lb. carrots
1/2 small beet
1 stalk celery
1/4 C flax seed, soaked overnight

1. Soak rice in a large bowl of water overnight (at least 12 hours). Drain. Mix in chopped mung beans and place in bowl for flavors to "meld" together.

2. In a small glass or ceramic bowl place onion and garlic. Drizzle olive oil just to over and let soak.

3. In a separate glass or ceramic bowl mix curry powder with just enough olive oil to make into a paste.

4. To make the curry sauce, juice the beet, carrots, celery and flax seed. Add curry paste from step 3 to juice and mix well. Pour curry sauce into a serving bowl.

    To serve take an empty bowl and place some rice in the center. Spoon some onion/garlic mixture on one side and spoon some curry sauce on the other. As you eat the rice you can decide how much of each flavor you want - you can enjoy 3 different flavors (each one separately and one "together" flavor).

    Take time to enjoy the flavors. It would be especially interesting to serve the sauces from small oriental bowls and the rice in a larger bowl.

    Makes 1 serving. Multiply recipe according to the number of servings you wish.


    If you have other seasoning greens that you would like to add, chop in small pieces and stir together with the onion and garlic in step 2.

    The flax seed is used as a thickening agent. You could substitute Ipomoea aquatica, amaranth leaves or Malabar spinach. Any of these may be marketed as "Chinese Spinach".

      Sunday, November 16, 2008

      Italian Seasoning Mix

      This mix is great to use to add not only for sauces, but for pizza dough, italian bread dough (or bread sticks), meatballs and meatloaf. If you have any other suggestions as to how you might use this combination, please feel free to post them!

      Again I mentioned in a previous post, if you are not using these ingredients immediately, you need to make sure the spices are all dried completely before closing in container.

      1/3 C oregano leaves
      1 T garlic powder
      2 t onion salt
      1/3 C basil leaves
      1 t crushed rosemary
      1/4 C thyme leaves

      Combine all ingredients and store in a tightly closed container. Store in a cool, dry place.

      Makes about 1 cup of seasoning mix

      Spaghetti Sauce Mix

      When I get onions, green peppers and garlic at the farmer's market for a good price, I try to take a bunch, chop them up small, and dehydrate them. I use my FoodSaver jars for the green pepper and garlic and FoodSaver bags for the onions (larger bag, cut opening and re-seal each time I need some). If you have an herb garden, you can dehydrate the spices or, in the alternative, purchase them already dried.

      NOTE: Any stored mix must use DRY ingredients. If there is moisture present it may allow mold to grow. . . of course, you can feel free to make this fresh and use it right away!

      This would also make a nice gift - I mean, who doesn't like and eat spaghetti sauce on and in "stuff"?! Prepare some and place in a decorated jar and add a hang tag with the preparation instructions.

      1/4 C minced onion
      1/4 C parsley flakes
      1/4 C cornstarch
      1 T. green pepper flakes
      1 T. sea salt
      1 t. minced garlic
      1/2 t. pepper (fresh ground yields the best flavor)
      1 T. dehydrated cane juice
      1 T rosemary (chopped or ground - whole leaves don't give as much flavor)
      1 T thyme
      1 T oregano
      1 T parsley

      Combine all ingredients together and store!. If you are not storing in an air tight container, use within 6 months for freshest taste (as with any other spices you might have).

      Makes almost 1-1/2 cups of mix.

      To make spaghetti sauce:

      Brown 1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat and drain well. Add a 16 oz. can of tomato sauce, a 6 oz. can of tomato paste, 2-3/4 cups V-8 juice, tomato juice or water, and 1/3 cup seasoning mix. Reduce heat and simmer spaghetti sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta or use in mom's lasagna recipe (all mom's have one, don't they?).

      Makes 4 servings of spaghetti - perhaps 6 servings if you have young children. ;-)

      Friday, November 14, 2008

      Black Beans and Rice Casserole

      As I mentioned in a previous post, when I make rice I always make extra and freeze it. Since rice isn't generally a nutritious item, I usually try to make sure it is either brown rice or basmati rice.

      This is a quick and easy casserole dish that would be great to bring to a pot luck dinner.

      3 cups cooked rice
      1 medium onion, finely diced
      1 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
      4 garlic cloves, either smashed or put through garlic press (I put garlic in almost everything!)
      1 C water
      1 T chili powder
      1 T ground cumin
      3 pickled banana peppers or pickled jalapeño peppers, finely minced (add some fresh if you like it hotter)
      3 large tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
      3 C black beans (2 cans or soft-cooked)
      2 C shredded cheese (your choice)

      Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.

      In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and slightly caramelized. Add 1 C water and stir to remove the caramelized flavor from the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the spice and stir until well mixed.

      Add peppers and tomatoes and stir. Add the black beans and stir to incorporate all the seasonings together. Stir in the rice until everything is mixed evenly.

      Pour ingredients in casserole dish. Add cheese to top and bake for 35 minutes.

      Note: It is best NOT to use a non-stick pan because they inhibit the ability of the onions to properly caramelize on the bottom of the pan.

      • If you are looking for a shortcut, you can substitute the peppers and tomatoes with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and chilies. There are several different varieties - just choose a hotness that suits your family. Add the can WITH the juice
      • If you wish to add some beef or chopped chicken to this dish, add the cooked meat at the same time you add the peppers and tomatoes.
      • Kernel corn would be a nice addition to this casserole - add when you stir in the rice

      Thursday, November 13, 2008

      Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

      1 C hot tap water
      2 C dehydrated cane juice
      2 C dry milk powder
      6 T melted butter

      Pour hot water into a blender. Add the dehydrated cane juice, dry milk powder and butter. Blend for 1 minute on a medium=high setting. The mix starts out thin but thickens within an hour.

      Makes the equivalent of two cans or about 3 cups.

      This recipe will work in all your sweetened condensed milk recipes.

      Homemade Cool Whip

      1 t unflavored gelatin
      2 t cold water
      3 t boiling water
      1/2 C ice water
      1/2 C nonfat dry milk
      3 T dehydrated cane juice (buzz in blender for a few seconds)
      3 T vegetable oil (probably don't want to use EVOO because of the strong flavor)

      Chill a small mixing bowl (metal is probably best). In a separate small bowl, Soften gelatin with 2 teaspoons cold water, then add boiling water, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved.

      Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Place ice water & dry milk in the chilled bowl. Beat at high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks. Add cane juice, still beating, then oil and gelatin. Place in freezer about 15 minutes then transfer to refrigerator until ready for use. Stir before using to retain creamy texture. Makes 2 cups.

      Note: If it is important to you that this be bright white, you might want to use organic sugar because dehydrated cane juice hasn't been bleached.

      For a chocolate version, melt 2 squares semisweet chocolate. Cool slightly. Mix in together with the oil and gelatin. A quick and easy alternative, although it is less healthy, is to add 2 T sweetened cocoa powder (the kind you stir in to make chocolate milk).

      Wednesday, November 12, 2008

      Poultry Seasoning Mix

      This seasoning mix is great to use for both turkey and chicken as well as to use in stuffing.

      3 T thyme
      2 T marjoram
      2 T rosemary
      1 T sage
      1 T savory (preferably winter savory)
      1 T celery seed
      1/2 t oregano
      1/2 t ground allspice
      1/4 t fresh ground pepper

      If you are using these as a mix, make sure that any fresh herbs have been dehydrated so they don't mold in the sealed container. You can, of course (and it's best), use the fresh herb/spice if you are using the seasoning immediately.'

      If I am going to use it for stuffing, I increase the amount of rosemary, celery seed, and sage (because I really like those flavors for stuffing).

      I usually triple this recipe and use FoodSaver bags to keep it fresh. I put it in a long rectangular pouch and cut off only a small amount each time I use it and reseal it in the same bag.

      Stuffing Mix

      I bake fresh bread and it gets stale in a relatively short period of time. In order not to waste the bread, I cut up some of the bread in cubes and toss in the freezer. It is great to use when you need bread crumbs (just toss in the VitaMix using the dry container). when you make stuffing, bread pudding or meatloaf.

      3 T celery flakes
      1 T parsley
      1 T dried minced onion
      2 t chicken bouillon granules (or 2 crumbled cubes)
      1/2 t poultry seasoning
      1/2 t sage

      If you are not using this immediately, make sure to use dried/dehydrated spices.

      Measure all ingredients into a zip bag or jar and seal. I use a FoodSaver bag (you can cut them down the middle and then seal) to make smaller bags.

      Make a tag to attach to jar/bag:

      Bring the following items to boil:

      1 cup water
      2 tablespoons butter

      Reduce heat and add 3-1/2 cups bread cubes (dry in low oven if using fresh, soft bread). Add spices and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fluff with a fork before serving.

      If you want to make this as a mix to give (or to prepare ahead for yourself) you can dry the bread in a low oven and package it with the spices - just make sure to modify the instructions accordingly. Just make sure there is no moisture left because you don't want the bread to mold in the package.

      Cinnamon Muffins

      2 C Fresh milled Soft White Wheat Flour
      1 C powdered milk
      1 T baking powder
      3 T cinnamon
      2 eggs, slightly whisked in bowl
      1 t vanilla
      1-1/2 C water
      1/2 C softened butter
      1/2 C honey

      Spray muffin stone with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400° F oven.

      Add dry ingredients and mix together well. Add liquid ingredients and stir until fully moistened.

      Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 large muffins.

      Optional: sprinkle a little dehydrated cane juice over the top before baking.

      Sunday, November 9, 2008

      Ezekiel Bread

      Note: This is NOT a sprouted bread like the type you see in the freezer section of some stores (although I'm still working on a recipe for one- just haven't found the right combination. . .yet).

      This recipe makes for a hearty and moist (but not crusty) bread. The flavor is wonderful - especially great when fresh from the oven - and is good as is, with a little butter or honey and/or toasted.

      Preparation requires either a grain mill or a VitaMix with a dry container.

      Grease 3 standard-size loaf pans or a standard-size loaf pan and a rectangular casserole dish.

      Combine the following fresh milled whole grains and beans:

      2-1/2 cups hard red or hard white wheat
      1-1/2 cups spelt
      1/2 cup barley
      1/4 cup millet
      1/4 cup lentils
      2 Tbs. great northern beans
      2 Tbs. kidney beans
      2 Tbs. pinto beans

      Place flour in large mixer bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the following until the butter is liquid:

      4 cups very warm (not hot) water
      1-1/4 cup honey
      1/2 cup softened butter

      Add liquids to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and add the following:

      2 t sea salt
      2 T yeast

      Stir until well mixed, about 10 minutes. This is a batter type bread and will not form a smooth ball. I use an Electrolux DLX (Assistent) mixer with the roller and set it at 10 minutes on medium-low speed.

      Pour dough into greased pans. Let rise in a warm place for one hour or until the dough is almost to the top of the pan. If it rises too much it will overflow the pan while baking.

      Bake at 350° F pre-heated oven for 45 minutes if loaf pans and 35 minutes for casserole dish.

      You can substitute rye instead of spelt, but Biblically spelt was used (see Ezekiel 4:9)

      Saturday, November 8, 2008

      Homemade Corn Chips

      I grew up in northern Illinois and not only were there corn fields everywhere, we grew sweet corn in a full acre of our garden. When I went to college at Northern Illinois University, I was surrounded by Dekalb Ag cornfields. I enjoy corn so much there have been many times I chose to have nothing but corn to eat for a meal. Unfortunately I live in Florida now and the fresh sweet corn here is akin what we used to feed animals - and not very tasty. I guess you could say that I was spoiled by the "good stuff". A sub-tropical climate isn't very conducive for producing very good sweet corn!

      I'm not a big fan of snacks, but these are tasty and easy to make. I usually have the large food-service size cans on hand, but these probably taste a little better when you are using fresh or frozen corn.

      4 c. sweet corn kernels
      1/2 t. garlic powder

      Chop corn in food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder (and other ingredients if you wish) and process until well combined.

      Spread about 1/8" thick on dehydrator tray. If you wish, you can sprinkle small amount of sea salt over mixture. Score in small rectangular pieces (or preferred shape).

      Dehydrate about 5 hours, or to desired crispness. Store in an air tight container.

      Options to add to mixture:

      • 1 teaspoon tomato powder
      • 1 t chili powder
      • 1 T fresh lime juice

      These also make a great option to serve with soup instead of using crackers.

      Note: If you are using frozen corn, make sure that it is thawed and well-drained.

      I will post a recipe here later using cornmeal, but this is a fresher, living foods version.

      Friday, November 7, 2008

      Substitutions for Alcoholic Beverages in Recipes

      When making substitutions, make sure to consider the sweetness of the dish and find something comparable.

      White Wine
      Apple juice or carrot juice.
      Vegetable stock or Chicken stock straight or with a little white wine vinegar
      1/2 cup rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon white grape juice.

      Red Wine
      1/2 cup of grape juice with 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar.
      1/2 cup water and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
      Beef stock or chicken stock straight or with a little red wine vinegar.

      Ginger ale, sparkling grape juice.

      Apple juice, peach juice, white grape juice, pear juice.

      Orange, peach or pear juice.

      Orange Liqueur
      Frozen orange juice concentrate.

      Chicken broth, beef broth, ginger ale.

      Monday, November 3, 2008

      Quinoa Salad

      For the last couple of years I have wanted to try Quinoa, but never had (not really sure why). I had been reading about the nutritional value of Quinoa and thought that it would make a nice addition to our diet. I finally bought a 38 lb (6 gallon) bucket of organic Quinoa in my last grain order.

      I have found that Quinoa is a tasty alternative to rice, but since it is far more nutritious, I think I will be experimenting with it more and more.

      2 C quinoa
      1/2 C toasted pine nuts (just put in the oven at a low temp for about 10 min) and finely chopped
      1/4 C minced scallions (could substitute onion, but the green is a visually pleasing choice)
      1/4 C craisins, soaked in warm water then drained (could use raisins, dates or currants)
      1/4 C apple cider vinegar (a raspberry or other fruit vinegar would also work well)
      1/4 C Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

      Boil 4 cups of water, add Quinoa and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain in a strainer (Quinoa is smaller than rice so it can't have large holes) without rinsing. Put in bowl and let cool slightly. If you are making a double or larger batch, you may wish to spread out on a baking sheet to cool so that it doesn't continue to cook.

      Add the rest of the ingredients and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (don't need much - just adjust for your taste).

      This can be served as a side dish or under a chicken/fish entrée. It would probably also make a fairly healthy evening snack!

      Sunday, November 2, 2008

      Garlic is Good!

      A diet rich in onions, garlic, and other alliums may lower risk of several kinds of cancer.

      American Journal of Clinical Nutrition research review