Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vitamix Recipes

We always see a lot of talk on the LDW group about the Vitamix blender.  This month I asked the ladies to share their favorite Vitamix recipes.   If you're not in the "it gets better" phase yet, no worries!  Several can also be made in any blender, so you can join me in testing these out in whatever blenders you already have.  :)

  • Orange Pear Kale Smoothie: http://www.greenplaterule.com/recipes/orange-pear-kale-smoothie/
  • My dh's favorite breakfast smoothie: a frozen banana, a fresh apple, 1/2c of greek yogurt, big handful of raw oats, big handful of almonds, chia seeds or flax seed, a little almond milk to loosen the mixture, and a couple of shakes of cinnamon. Tastes just like apple cinnamon cookies.
  • My kids' favorites: Frozen banana, peeled fresh orange, frozen pineapple, kefir or yogurt, chia/flax, and a handful of spinach--sweeten with carrot juice if they really like sweet. Or frozen banana, frozen cherries, vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt + vanilla protein powder, big handful of almonds, chia/flax, almond milk.
  • My favorite: frozen banana, 1/4 frozen avocado, half a fresh zucchini, couple big handsful of spinach/kale, a little frozen blueberry or pineapple, chia/flax, kefir & green juice. YUMMO.
  • Green smoothie:
    • 1 orange (take the outer orange peel off)
    • 1/2 of an apple
    • 1/4 of a lime
    • 5 figs (with pit removed)
    • 1 C coconut milk
    • 2 c of Spinach or Kale
    • 1/2 c ice
    • Put in blender in that order, and blend!
    • This recipe is seriously delicious (especially if you like citrus). Enjoy!

  • Eggplant Soup:  Roasted eggplant, salt, pepper, chili powder, some skim milk to consistency, and cumin.
  • Palak Paneer/Spinach + Cheese:
    • For the Paneer:Take 1-2 cups of Ricotta cheese and spread it evenly in a shallow pan (the smaller the pan, the thicker the cheese cubes. I use the pan that came with my toaster oven and it works well). Bake at 350F until you see cracks appear or until the top turns a light golden color. Allow it to cool. Cut into cubes and save for later  The amount of cheese you want to add to the spinach is completely up to you, so you can adjust this to your preference and freeze any remainder.
    • For the Spinach:
      • Ingredients:
      • -2 bags of baby spinach
      • -1 small onion chopped
      • -2 tsp garlic
      • -2 tsp chopped ginger (or more depending on your taste, but start with this)
      • -Chilli powder to taste
      • -1/4-3/4 cup sour cream (you can omit/adjust this to make the dish healthier, but I find that it tastes amazing with more sour cream)
      • -2 tsp oil
      • -2 tsp to 1.5 tbs corriander powder (this is a huge range, but I just add it until it tastes right)
      • -2 tsp Cumin powder (again, you can add more if you deem it necessary)
      • -1 cup water (if using fresh spinach)
      • Optional: 1 tsp butter (just for flavor)
      • Optional: 1 green, serrano, or thai chilli, chopped
      • Optional: Fresh cilantro to garnish
    • Method:
      • 1. Heat the oil and add onions. When caramelized, add cumin, corriander, garlic, ginger, sour cream, chilli powder and 1 cup water.
      • 2. Add Spinach and thai chilli, stir and cover. Cook on a medium to medium-low setting until the spinach changes from a bright green to dark forest green color.
      • 3. Put half the cooked mixture into the blender, blend to desired consistency. You can adjust the proportion blended based on how much texture you prefer in the final dish.
      • 4. Add blended spinach to remainder in the pot. Allow any excess water to cook off. When finished, add cheese cubes and bam, tastiness!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shortcuts in the Kitchen

When life gets busy (as it usually is), who wants to spend all day in the kitchen?  To help make things a little easier,  we asked the LDW ladies about their favorite shortcuts in the kitchen: 

Prep Early, Be a Kitchen Ninja Later

  • “In most quick meals the protein prep is the longest part. You can pre-cook dried beans, ground beef or turkey, shredded beef or pork, and cubed or shredded chicken, then once cooled, portion into quart bags and freeze the cooked proteins. (I do 2 cups of anything--that's the portion size I find most useful.) Do beans however you prefer, stove top or slow cooker; brown ground meat or cubed chicken on the stove top, and use a slow cooker for shredded beef, pork, or chicken.
  • “During the day (I'm a SAHM) I do bits of all the prep work for dinner for the family so that when it's time to throw it together, only takes me about 30 minutes.
  • “Microwave potatoes before baking them.  Just a few minutes of zapping can cut down the oven time significantly!
  • “I cook a bigger batch of rice and keep it in the fridge (for short term) and the freezer for longer term- then just reheat it when we are having something with rice.

Shortcuts in the Kitchen
  • “Use scissors (clean ones) to chop cilantro, parsley, green onions, etc. instead of a knife.
  • “My favorite tip is for prepping apples for my kids to snack on. I cut the apple in half, then use a melon baller to scoop out the core, then cut each half into quarters, and poof! So much easier and faster than cutting the core out of each section individually.”
  • “After opening coconut milk, tomato paste, etc if you don't use the whole can, pop them into ice cube containers and freeze then transfer to a ziplock. You can just pop one out instead of wasting a whole can every time.
  • “I keep jarred Tikka Masala and Dopiaza sauce on hand. Especially handy if I can use leftover chicken, but I usually just put chicken in the oven and let it cook while the rice cooks in my rice cooker. I can be doing other things while the rice is cooking and the chicken is baking. Cut the chicken into pieces and toss with sauce. Serve over rice (we do veggies too). Even my kiddo likes the Tikka Masala.
  • “I save my plastic grocery bags and use them as 'garbage bowl' as Rachel Ray would say, but it saves multiple trips around the corner to my trash can. When I’m done cooking, tie it closed and into the trash it goes.

Quick Recipes
  • “One quick dessert tip I got from Sandra Lee (I just love SemiHomemade!) is to purchase a pre-made angel food cake, pour a can of fruit pie filling in the center, and frost it with Cool Whip. It's super easy and goes over well. Light for summer time, too.