Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Final Week of Eat-In May! May 28, 2014

MealPlan Week5I use Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe for Eggs in a Nest from her book/website Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life.  Incidentally, it’s a great read if you like gardening, cooking, or really good non-fiction writing.

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Sarah: Week 4 Planning May 20, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 3:21 am
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MealPlan Week4

 

Lauren: Homemade Kettle Corn May 13, 2014

 

 

 

There’s one thing I can’t resist at the fair: kettle corn. You can have your caramel apple and your fried oreos, just give me the largest bag of kettle corn there is.

The reason I’m bringing up kettle corn is because I got ambushed by some the other day. I wasn’t at a fair, so it was quite unexpected. My four-year-old was running a race and there it was, calling to me with its sweet, sweet smell. I walked over “just to see” and then I remembered. It’s Eat-In May! Shootfire! as my friend Margaret would say. It would be eating out. So I didn’t buy any. Aren’t you proud? But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I just kept thinking that I had to have some. . . so I gave in and made my own. I’m happy to report that it’s delicious and totally satisfied my craving!

Ingredients:

1/4 c. oil (I used coconut)

1/2 c. popcorn kernels (try to find non-GMO)

1/3 c. sugar

salt to taste

Directions: 

1. Add 1/4 c.  oil to a medium-sized sauce pot.
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2. Add 3 kernels. Once they pop, you’ll know the oil is hot enough to add the rest. DSCN2240

3. Add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. And then add 1/3 cup sugar.

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4. Cover the pot with a lid. Don’t put it all the way down. Leave room for some steam to escape so the popcorn doesn’t become tough. And shake what your mama gave you. I mean, shake the pot so the popcorn on the bottom doesn’t burn. Continue until the popping slows down.

kettle corn

5. Transfer the popcorn onto a piece of parchment paper. Let it rest for a couple minutes so sugar will harden a bit and give the popcorn that delicious crunch.

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6. Enjoy! Try not to eat it all in one sitting. I dare you.

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Sarah: Week 3 Planning + Quick Veggie Chili May 12, 2014

MealPlan Week3

Here’s the plan for the week, everyone!  The goal is quick and healthy with as much variety as possible (because we do eat leftovers for lunches, and there’s only so many times a month you can revisit the same meal!).

As a bonus: here’s my quick chili recipe, vegetarian, and ready in less than an hour.  Also–this is a super-mild chili recipe because I wanted to be sure Little Bear would eat it (she did…with her fingers).  I would normally have added a jalapeño into the sauté or added another 1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder.  Also…I kind of think sweet potato would be amazingly delicious in here, but I had neither sweet potatoes nor the time to peel them.

Note: sometimes frozen/canned veggies are more tasty and healthier than eating off-season veggies, so it’s nice to have some recipes for not-so-fresh vegetables before the garden starts producing!

Quick Vegetarian Chili

It snowed today, yes, in May, so chili was good comfort food!

It snowed today, yes, in May, so chili was good comfort food!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder (give or take)
1 large (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
1/2 package frozen corn
pinch of paprika
1/2-1 tsp. salt
a few squirts of ketchup, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil and sauté onion.  When translucent, add garlic and chili powder (sautéing spices gives them extra flavor).

2. Add in red pepper and sauté for another few minutes. At this point, I added about a cup of veggie broth because it was leftover in my fridge and would have gone bad this week and I just hate to waste things, don’t you?  But I don’t think the veggie broth was fully necessary, so you can omit as you see fit.

3. Pour in can of tomatoes (with all the juices), add the beans, and dump in the corn.

4. Put in the spices and a little ketchup, taste-testing as you go and adding more or less as needed.  Bring it to a boil and then turn down to simmer.

5.  The longer you simmer, the better the flavor, but I found that it took me less than 15 minutes to put it all together and that a 30-minute simmer was enough to make it decently good.  Also, serve with cheese on top, because everything’s better with cheese, right?

 

Sarah: May Minestrone May 5, 2014

Why go out to Olive Garden when you can make minestrone just as delicious on your own stove?

Why go out to Olive Garden when you can make minestrone just as delicious on your own stove?

The Italians have been holding out on us, everyone.  I love minestrone soup, but I always imagined that each Italian family had a complex family recipe that took hours of simmering until it came to miraculous minestrone perfection.

This weekend, I had the epiphany that minestrone is really just the perfect excuse to use whatever leftover veggies happen to be in your house.  Family recipes notwithstanding, minestrone changes with the seasons according to what is ripe and ready.

Note: I made this in less than 45 minutes after a weekend away, while putting away groceries in the kitchen.  It’s not too difficult–the chopping is the only time-consuming part.

For a quick version at home, there are only about four essential ingredients.  The rest is a choose-your-own-adventure meal!  The other lovely thing about this is that you can make it dairy or gluten free by omitting the cheese on top or the pasta noodles.

Minestrone

Four essential ingredients (which you probably have already in your cupboard or fridge):

  • 1 large can (32 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. broth (of any kind, really)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste (I did 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper)

Ingredients I put in my soup tonight (because they needed to be used up or happened to be on sale at the store today):

  • 1/2 a purple onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 small red potatoes
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • a handful of penne pasta
  • a can of beans (I used a tricolor mix, but you can use white, pinto, kidney, whatever)
  • parmesan cheese
1.  Chop, chop, chop the veggies (we like them in small pieces in our house--otherwise, Keith calls it "lazy soup").

1. Chop, chop, chop the veggies (we like them in small pieces in our house–otherwise, Keith calls it “lazy soup”).

2. Sautee the onion until translucent, then add the garlic.  Add other veggies in order of cooking time--potatoes went first for me, then asparagus.

2. Sautee the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic. Add other veggies in order of cooking time–potatoes went first for me, then asparagus.

3. Next came squash.  After it had all sautéed a bit, I added the broth.

3. Next came squash. After it had all sautéed a bit, I added the broth.

4.  Then comes the can of tomatoes (with the tomato juice--why pour that down the drain when it adds to the soup?).

4. Then comes the can of tomatoes (with the tomato juice–why pour that down the drain when it adds to the soup?).  Stir in the spices now, too, so that it all boils together.

6.  During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, add the beans and the pasta.  Serve when the pasta gets soft, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese…because cheese makes everything better.

6. After it all boils, let the veggies soften a bit, but if you’re adding pasta, don’t let them get too mushy.  During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, add the beans and the pasta. Serve when the pasta gets soft, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese…because cheese makes everything better.

 

Sarah: Week 2 of Eat-In May

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 3:36 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Week 2: Eat-In May

Week 2: Eat-In May

We aim for a pattern in meal planning: big meal extravaganza on Sunday evening when we’re both home to wrangle our child while chopping veggies and washing dishes.  Usually I make Sunday evening dinner and Keith puts together a crockpot o’ something to cook all day Monday.  Voila!  Two hot meals with leftovers for lunches for the next few days.

Then we plan a quick-and-easy meal for Tuesday.  Wednesday is my day off (I work four tens), so I usually plan something a little more involved (again with leftovers for the next day or two of lunches).  Then on Thursdays, we often have smoothies (use up all that leftover fruit, yogurt, etc.).  It doesn’t sound very hearty, but kids LOVE that dinner and then you can pair it with cheese toast or crackers and cheese for quick additional oomph.

And then…sometimes nothing goes according to plan (such as tonight when we both forgot to make the crockpot).  No worries.  You just switch around as needed.  No need to stress.  As long as you have all your ingredients, it’s no big deal to move things around.

 

 

Lauren: Veggie Frittata: Dinner in 30 minutes or less May 3, 2014

Frittatas have become a weekly staple in our house. Why? Because they’re quick and easy. And they’re a good way to use up eggs and random veggies lingering in the fridge. Our four chickens lay just about 4 eggs a day, 7 days a week. Math isn’t really my thing (English major here!), but I know that comes out to over 2 dozen a week, give or take about, um, 4. . . .  2 dozen eggs a week means at least one frittata for dinner. End of story.

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Ingredients:

1/2 onion, diced

2 tbsp. oil

8 eggs

1/2 c. milk

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp parmasan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 c. frozen corn

1 cup chopped spinach

2 tbsp. butter

1/2- 1 c. of cheese

Note: You can add whatever veggies or leftovers you have to your frittata. I just happened to have pepper, corn, and spinach. Potatoes are particular good. I would consider the basil, butter, and cheese essential though. And the eggs, of course!

 

Directions:

1. Set oven to the broil setting. Heat oil in a large skillet. When warm, add the diced onion. Cook until onion becomes soft and transparent.

 

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2. While the onion is cooking, crack the eggs in a bowl and add milk.

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Play the game of what shape is the milk. I see a mouse. What do you see?

 

3. Add basil, parmesan, salt ,and pepper to eggs. Stir to combine. (Don’t skip the basil. I think it adds so much flavor to the eggs!)\

 

4. Add red pepper to the onions. Cook for a few minutes. Add corn. Cook for a couple minutes. Then add the spinach. Cook just until the spinach wilts.

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Ooo colors!

 

5. Once the spinach wilts, add the 2 tbsp of butter. Butter makes eggs taste even better and helps to keep them from sticking to the pan.

 

6. Add egg mixture to skillet. Cook it like an omelet, pushing the edges in and tilting the pan so egg liquid runs onto the pan. Cook until the edges are set. Don’t worry about the top too much; it will finish up in the oven.

 

7. Put the whole skillet in the oven for a couple minutes until the top is cooked. Watch it so it doesn’t burn.

 

8. Once the top is no longer runny, add the cheese. Put the frittata back in the oven until the cheese is slightly browned and a little bubbly.

 

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9. After removing the frittata from the oven, slice it into eights. I also recommend leaving a pot holder on the skillet handle so your husband doesn’t accidentally grab the handle and burn himself.

 

10. Enjoy!

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