Friday, October 29, 2010

Fruit Salad

I was craving fruit but the selection at the store was so poor that I ended up in the canned fruit aisle. My family has traditionally made a fruit salad with mixed canned fruit, cool whip, cottage cheese and jello. I have always hated mixed canned fruit and no one was especially excited about this salad for dinner. However, I really like the mix of fruit with the cool whip and cottage cheese.
My son and I stood in the canned fruit aisle trying to find something that would ease my fruit craving. We opted to buy pineapple which we all love and then we found something else - locally grown, no sugar added canned cherries. It was a shocker. The can of cherries was a little spendy at $3.50 but I figured it was less than what I would spend on fresh cherries. The ingredients were cherries, water and cherry juice so I figured it was worth it. We got some fresh bananas to round it out and made the family salad.
Here's how it went
2 cans chopped pineapple, drained
1 can cherries, drained
4 bananas, sliced into coins
1 container of cool whip
1 container of cottage cheese (both the "normal" sizes)
orange jello
Mix together the fruit. Fold in the thawed cool whip and cottage cheese. Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the package of jello to add flavor (or to taste). Chill and serve.
I saved the juices, mixed them together for the dinner drink.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pork and Rice

One of the few things my father made as we were growing up is a Kraft recipe for Pork Chops and Rice. Things have changed but we still love this concotion. My father's original recipe uses regular rice and bakes in the oven. I found a new version of this recipe that makes it on the stove with minute rice. The original recipe also calls for creamed soup but it is not gluten or dairy free.
Here is how we revamped the recipe for last nights dinner.
4 pork chops
2 cups minute brown rice
2-3 cups liquid (we used a combination of soy milk and water)
1/2 stick Nucoa
1 onion chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
1 package instant dry soup mix (we used onion and later realized it had barley yeast - which I have no idea what that is but we are not sure it's gluten free. There are plenty of soup mixes out there that are though)
Melt Nucoa in a deep frying pan (we have something called a chicken pan which is a cast iron skillet-like pan that is about 3 inches deep with a lid). Brown pork chops in Nucoa. Remove pork chops and place in an oven at 300 - 350 to keep warm and cook more of the center. Fry onion and celery until tender. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Add soup mix and rice. Top with pork chops from oven (it seemed like it took awhile for the veggies to saute but then we were cooking slowly). Cover with lid and cook until rice is tender. Serves 4 very comfortably.
Using the brown rice does mean it needs to cook slightly longer than white rice and requires more liquid.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Potato Soup

Potato soup is one of those super easy recipes that I often forget it is a recipe. I, often, treat this as a stone soup sort of recipe because I use whatever I find.
The basic formula is onions, potatoes, milk.
I have made a dairy free version of this with mashed potatoes and a little chicken stock. Personally, I prefer a dairy version even if I have to use soy milk.
For the basic recipe (feel free to double, triple etc)
6 potatoes scrubbed and cubed (keeping the peels on will help the pieces retain their shape and not get as mushy)
1 onion, diced
2 cans evaporated milk (or about 3-4 cups milk of any type)
1/2 stick nucoa
Melt Nucoa in pot (you don't need a very big pot if you are just making this amount). I discovered that making this in cast iron will cause the bottom to stick horribly so I recommend something not cast iron - or stay attentive so it doesn't burn). Saute onion in butter. I prefer a light saute so that the onion doesn't get too brown. Add potatoes, stir a little to coat the potatoes in butter and onions. Pour over milk. Let simmer until potatoes are soft but not mushy. This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on the heat. Stir often to prevent burning.
When I made the soup this week, I added a little chicken gravy that I had made to give it a little depth and to use up some of the gravy.
I like to season the soup with nothing but pepper but that's just me.
You can add bacon to this dish (you can actually use bacon to fry the onion if you like) or clams/oysters. You can top with cheese and green onion. Let your imagination run wild.