Meatballs on Spinach Pasta (with a creamy tomato sauce)

1# - 12 meatballs - purchased or homemade
1/4 lg. purple onion - chopped
2 carrots - grated
1/3 poblano pepper - chopped
3 lg. cloves of garlic - minced
2T butter
28oz. can crushed tomatoes
8-10oz. fresh kale or frozen spinach - chopped
1t sugar  +  1T± *Rosemary Seasoning - recipe
a splash of good dark balsamic vinegar
8oz. spinach linguine or fettuccine
4oz Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
(tomato pesto is shown but wasn't used)

Assemble the meatballs from a favorite recipe, or, like I did buy some that look good to you.  Bake them until about 3/4 done.  Meanwhile prepare the sauce in a heavy-bottomed 3qt. pot.  Sauté the onion, carrot, pepper and garlic in the butter.  When fragrant and the onions are translucent, add the next 4 ingredients.  *Italian seasonings can be substituted.  Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and after about 10 minutes, stir in the cheese and meatballs.  These can be left whole or cut in halves or quarters.  Fill a large pot halfway with water, cook pasta until al dente, about 3/4 done.  Drain, then put the pasta in the bottom of a 9"x13" glass pan, or a small covered porcelain roasting pan.  Pour meatballs and sauce over the top of this, spreading the meatballs out to cover the pasta evenly.  Bake at 325° for 20 minutes before serving. . .Lin

Fruit and Jicama Salad

3T honey
3T flavored white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2t± fresh ground pepper
1/8c thinly sliced red onion
zest of a Cara Cara (or navel) orange

1/2 med. jicama - diced
1 Cara Cara orange - quartered and sliced
1 peeled kiwi - quartered and sliced
1/2c blueberries
12 oz. strawberries - quartered lengthwise

Put the first group of ingredients in a medium bowl, microwave for 30 seconds to melt the honey.  Stir, then add the jicama and stir again, being sure the cubes are well coated.  Add the rest of the prepared fruit, stir gently several times over the next 10 minutes.  The next time I make this I'm going to add a couple chopped carrots!  I think all the textures and flavors would blend beautifully. . .Lin

Sausage and Kale Breakfast Bake

12oz. breakfast sausage
1/2 lg. red onion
6-8 oz. chopped kale

4 sm. potatoes - sm. cubes
1 lg. roasted red pepper - chopped
5 lg. cloves garlic - minced
3-4T capers

8 eggs
1c cottage cheese
6-8 oz. crumbled-cubed feta cheese

Thaw the sausages so the meat can be squeezed out of the casings.  If' you'd rather have them in chunks, and don't mind the casings, cut each sausage into 4-5 pieces while still frozen.  Sauté sausage with a little of the onion, over medium heat, in a large non-stick pan, until partially cooked.  Mix together the next group of ingredients in the pan, and arrange in a buttered, glass 9" x 13" baking pan.

Using a rotary beater, combine a few of the eggs with the cottage cheese, beating hard to break down the lumps.  Add the rest of the eggs, beat a while longer then pour over the ingredients, and the feta crumble-cubes, in the baking pan.  Bake about 30 minutes at 325° or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean. . .Lin

Vegan Rice & Bean Tabouli

3/4c *small red or black beans

1 lemon - zest and juice
1/3c rosemary extra virgin olive oil
2t Rosemary Seasoning recipe

1-1/2c chopped celery and center tops
1 med.-lg. onion - sliced or chopped
1 lg. carrot - scrub and chop fine
2 mini English cucumbers - julienned
1c cooked brown rice

6 1-1/2" diameter tomatoes - 1/4's or 1/8's

Many, many years ago, I discovered Molly Katzen's "Moosewood Cookbook" *  To this day, it remains a treasured, go-to resource, when a new recipe is nudging my mind, for a little direction or inspiration.  I've probably concocted 100 variations of her Tabouli recipe, over the years, since the '70's!  Although each has been unique, I've loved most all of them.  This one turned out exceptionally well.  It's healthy, fresh and flavorful.  Also excellent for a vegan diet, since the combination of beans and rice create a complete protein.

Put the beans in a heavy-bottom 2qt. pot.  Sort through them, removing any bad ones or little stones.  Cover with a couple inches of cold water, bring this to a solid simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes.  Drain. (Save the liquid to mix with your dog's food, or for a future soup)  Rinse in cold water.  Do this process again, stirring in about 1/2t of baking soda this time.  This helps to neutralize the gas-producing qualities in the beans, making them more digestible.  Simmer an additional 15 minutes or so, until the beans are tender and done, but not mushy.  If the beans are still hard, repeat the process once more, with plain cold water.  *If this is all too labor-intensive, you can just use canned beans that you drain and rinse 😊

In a medium-large glass bowl, combine the 3 dressing ingredients, whisking together, making sure the seasonings dissolve well.  Add the prepared vegetables, toss, then continue with the rice preparation, according to package directions.  I added a little of the Rosemary Seasoning and flavored olive oil at the beginning, to infuse more flavor into the rice while cooking.

When the beans are cooked and drained, let them and the rice cool for 10 minutes, then toss with the rest of the vegetables, adding tomatoes now.  Let stand an additional 10 minutes to blend the flavors, tossing gently a couple times before serving.  Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles if you'd like. . .Lin   

Information - Books and Tools

Oh my! — It's like Christmas here today!

The Mailman just brought me two packages.
As most of you know, I love to create recipes.  My blog is made up of about 95% my original concoctions and the rest are recipes by others - clearly identified as such - and informational posts.  
My excited 'Christmas in January' face
This cookbook was recommended to me by a Facebook friend.
We both have odd auto-immune, arthritis conditions
that have seriously impacted our lives.
I expect to get lots of good info, tips and details,
regarding what they call 'action plans.'
I'm sure the recipes will be ones I'll also share,
either as they are or with my modifications.
Yea!  Good Reading about Good Food!  😋 A double win!!

I'm also not a huge fan of single-purpose gadgets.
However, I have a condition called Essential Tremor which has seriously impaired
my chopping,and slicing abilities.
Sad, since that's one of my favorite part of cooking.
It's a time I can be precise, think about my game plan for the food
 and ponder other ingredients or changes I want to make in my original idea.

So, since I started becoming a danger to my poor fingers,
with bad shakes and super sharp knives. . .I have to make an adjustment. . .

Enter. . .taa daa. . .The Freshware Chopper and Mandoline Slicer!!
I did my homework on this and found it to be very highly rated as well as an excellent value, being a dual purpose tool.
After using this a while, I'll give some feedback
on how it performs and if I'm feeling it was a good addition
to my crowded kitchen cabinets.

Happy Cooking Everyone 💗. . . Lin

Quick and Easy Gumbo

1 3oz. (or more) andouille sausage
1 med. onion chop-dice
1/2c white 20 minute rice
2T butter
2 cans of the wonderful mix shown 😊
I also added 2 chopped Kumatos *
12-16oz. fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp
Slice or dice the andouille and put in a large, non-stick pan with a little of the onion, rice and butter.  Sauté and stir, like you would for rice pilaf, until the rice begins to brown.  (I used a rice and quinoa mix, but I prefer just rice.)

Add the cans of tomato, okra and corn, additional tomato or Kumato if you want.  Stir, cover and simmer 20 minutes.  At this point, it you'll be eating right away, add the shrimp and slowly stir until the shrimp turn coral-pink.  Turn off the heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.  If you'll be eating later, don't add the shrimp.  The previous steps can be done even a day or two ahead of time, and the shrimp added just before serving. . .Lin

Vegetable Chowder

1/2# bacon cut in small pieces
5 ears of corn - steamed 15 minutes
1 lg. chopped onion
3 celery ribs - slice-chopped
2c. julienne-cut carrots
2 large potatoes - peel and cut in cubes
4-6 baby red potatoes - scrub and cube
ground rosemary, red and black pepper
6-8c water
3±T chicken flavor Better Than Bullion
1c half and half - optional

Fry the bacon until it's nicely browned.  Transfer the pieces to folded paper towel or brown paper, to drain.  Cut the kernels of cooked corn off the cob into a large non-stick skillet.  Add onion, celery and carrots.  Sauté this in a little bacon grease for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Put the cubed potatoes into a 3-5 qt. pot.  Season, then stir in the vegetables you've sautéed.  Bring this to a simmer and do a 'stir-fry' on this for another 10 minutes.

Add water, bullion and bring this to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes.  Taste the broth and make any changes needed in seasonings.  Stir in the bacon pieces.  Serve as is, or stir in half and half and bring up the heat again for just a few minutes before labeling into bowls. . .Lin

Special Spinach

8oz. fresh spinach - chopped
1 med. onion - slice or chop
1T butter
salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
lemon zest and a little lemon juice

Steam the spinach in a covered pot with just a little water.  While that's cooking, in a large non-stick pan, sauté the onion with the butter, seasonings and lemon.  As that finishes cooking, stir in the sour cream.  Drain the spinach and add to the onion pan.  Stir and serve.  Makes 2 large servings. . .Lin

Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bake

1/2# of bacon - cut up and fried crispy
1 lg. onion - diced
6 small red potatoes - scrubbed and diced
1 lg. canned roasted red pepper - diced
6 lg. eggs
1c cottage cheese

After frying the bacon, transfer it to folded brown paper or paper towel to absorb excess grease.  Pour off most of the fat from the pan, then add onions and potatoes and fry just a bit to give them a little color and to absorb that bacon-y flavor.  Stir in the red pepper at the end.  Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese and a couple fresh eggs in a medium bowl and beat together, to break down the cottage cheese a bit.  Add the remaining eggs, two at a time and blend well.

Grease a 9"x13" glass pan with a paper towel, dipped in the bacon drippings.  Put in the contents of the frying pan and arrange to cover the bottom in a balanced way.  Carefully, pouring slowly, add the egg mixture.  Top with about 1/2c fresh grated parmesan (or other dry sharp) cheese.  Bake at 350° about a half hour, or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.  It will probably be beautifully 'pouffed' at this point, but will flatten as it cools.

I'm keeping track of calories right now, so I did a calorie count on this recipe.  The whole pan is 1700 calories.  Cut into 12 individual servings.  Each square is right around 145 calories.  We have this, stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days.  A square can easily be heated in the microwave in less than a minute, or packed for a quick breakfast or lunch at work.  After a couple days, what's left is put in a zip-type bag and frozen.  Separate with little squares of wax paper, so they don't freeze together.  Try this recipe, or one of the many others I've posted for breakfast bakes.

Be Adventurous in picking ingredients. . .Happy Cooking! . . 😊 . . .Lin

Cranberry-Orange Waldorf Relish

2c fresh cranberries
3 clementines
1 Granny Smith apple
3/4c sugar
1/2±t fresh ground black pepper
1c celery heart
3/4c walnuts
(I decided not to use the raisins)

Using a food processor, grind up the cranberries, apple and oranges.  You may need to peel the apple for it to grind up well.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the sugar and pepper.  Next, either process or finely chop the celery and walnuts then add to the bowl.  Make this at least several hours beforehand, or the day before, to blend the flavors. . .Lin

A Milder Shade of Kimchi

1c chopped kimchi
3-4c chopped green cabbage
a little of the hot juice from the kimchi

There's a good little eat-in or take-out, Chinese restaurant in Superior, WI where you can get a big jar of kimchi for $10.  It's a little hot for me right out of the jar, so I always combine it with some fresh, chopped green cabbage.  Chop the kimchi and cabbage.  Mix and add a little of the juice from the kimchi.

You might have to play around with the proportions a bit until you get it right for your taste.  It's really good though, and fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and natural brined pickles (no vinegar added) are really great for your digestion.

With our 'refined' western palettes it may take a little time to get used to incorporating such things in your diet, but it's worth the time and trouble.  Your 'gut' will thank you. . .Lin

Cornbread-Sausage Breakfast Bake

12oz. breakfast link sausages
2 lg. chopped carrots
2 chopped stalks celery
1 very lg. chopped purple shallot
1 whole canned roasted red pepper
6 eggs - beaten in a bowl
3/4c milk
2c cornbread stuffing mix
1/2t sea salt
1/4t ground red cayenne pepper
6oz. grated sharp flavored cheese
~ Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and fry.  When browned, put into a buttered 9"x13" glass pan.  Put the carrots and celery into the frying pan and cook them a little, for about 10 minutes, stirring to keep them from sticking to the pan.  Scoop these out and add to the sausages in the pan.  Add the shallot and the slice-chopped red pepper.

Combine the beaten eggs and milk.  Stir in the stuffing mix, salt and pepper.  Let this stand a while until it gets a little 'gloppy.'  Pour over everything in the baking pan, top with grated cheese and bake 25-30 minutes between 350°-375°, adjusting heat as needed until it looks like the last picture.  This makes 12 breakfast squares.  It will keep a few days in the 'fridge, and then can be put into a ziplock bag and frozen. . .Lin

Hearty Northland Beef Stew

1-1/2# boneless beef ribs
1T bacon fat
1/2 onion - minced
1-2T granulated roasted garlic
sea salt, ground red and black pepper
2T dark balsamic vinegar
1/3-1/2c flour

Start by browning the meat that's been cut into small pieces, in the hot bacon fat with the minced onion.  Stir and brown this, adding a little water.  When the meat is browned, add the seasoning and vinegar and a little more water if needed.  When this is browned, after another 10 minutes or so, it should look like beef in thin brown gravy.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring well.  Add another couple cups of water.

16oz. crushed tomatoes
2 lg. sliced carrots
1-1/2c sliced celery 
1 diced onion
6 sm. quartered red potatoes
1 med. zucchini - chunked
4-8oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

Add all the above ingredients and a little more water if needed.  Instead of the crushed tomatoes, I used 2c of the tomato soup I made the other day.  Bring to a simmer, cover, stir every 10 minutes or so.  Check the flavor of the broth, adding whatever is needed to give it the taste you'd like.  You could add more seasonings, some beef soup base, water or a little red wine for flavor.  Be creative and have fun.  Happy Cooking!! . . .Lin

Italian Christmas Cookies

As most of you know, I'm Not A Baker!
Anytime I see a recipe for cookies or
Cake - that looks good - I'll post
It here - on my blog

Happy 😊🍪 Baking!
(click ↓ here)

Colorful Hearty Tomato Soup

1c celery - sliced thin
2 carrots (2c shredded)
1 med.-lg. onion - chopped
1-2T coconut oil
1 lg. (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1.5# assorted colorful tomatoes
2T garlic - fresh or from a jar
2t rosemary seasoning *
1t sugar
1T± MSG-free chicken soup base
1c coconut milk coffee creamer
~Stir-sauté celery, carrot and onion in the coconut oil over medium heat, for 5-10 minutes.  Add all the tomatoes, garlic.  Sprinkle on the rosemary seasoning and sugar.  Stir and simmer 20-30 minutes over low-medium heat, depending on whether you want the vegetables fresher or a little more cooked. 

Our bodies don't actually use the lycopene* found in the tomatoes unless they're cooked!  So there's that to consider.  The temperature should be just hot enough to keep the soup at a small bubbling point for that amount of time. 

If you blended it, return it to the pot, stir in the coconut milk and bring back to a small bubble again before serving. 

A couple days later - Blended.
Much better flavor!!
Original - Unblended

This would be great with croutons on top or accompanying a grilled cheese sandwich.  I think it also might freeze well - but I haven't tried that. . .Lin

Cowboy Breakfast Bake

3/4# bacon - cut in small pieces
4 sm.-med. Yukon Gold potatoes
(I used all 6 and it was too many)
(I did not use the curry paste)
1 lg. orange pepper
2T olive oil
1-2t rosemary seasoning *
1-1/2c thin-sliced celery
6 eggs - lightly beaten
1/2c milk (or half & half)
1/3c corn flour
1t baking powder
1 can white chili beans
7oz. sharp flavorful cheese

Fry the bacon in a medium non-stick pan, until brown and crisp.  Drain the grease and put bacon on brown paper or several layers of paper towel.  Pour the drippings into a can leaving any brownings in the pan.  

Chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Put into a medium size bowl.  Add the pepper that's been seeded and cut into 6 pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the seasonings.  Put the peppers on a jelly roll pan covered with parchment paper and roast in the oven at 375° just until they start browning around the edges.  Meanwhile, put the chopped potatoes and celery in the bacon pan and sauté until the celery goes translucent and the potatoes begin to brown a bit.  Scoop all this out and add it to the pan the peppers are roasting on.  Return this to the oven for another 15 minutes or so.  Remove the peppers, peel and chop back into the bacon pan.  Add the potatoes and beans.  Mix together.

Beat the eggs with a wire whisk in a medium size bowl.  Add milk then slowly spoon in the corn flour and baking powder that have been mixed together.  Whisk all this well, then add everything in the pan to the bowl.  Stir together and pour into a greased 9"x13" glass baking pan.  Shred the cheese over the top of this, then sprinkle on the bacon.  Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  20-30 minutes or so.  Makes 12 good size breakfast squares that keep well in the fridge or can be frozen.  Reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast. . .Lin