Friday, May 31, 2019

Grancakes (Granny's Banana Pancakes) (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

1 very ripe banana
2  eggs (3 if they are small or the banana is large)
1 cup of uncooked oatmeal
1/4 tsp.  aluminum free baking powder
1/2  tsp.(or more to taste) vanilla 
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat heavy skillet or griddle, lightly oiled.
In food processor, grind oatmeal to bits that cannot be identified as oats.

Peel ripe banana, add to food processor. Obliterate until banana cannot be distinguished.

Add remaining ingredients, and process to a smooth batter.

Pour out into desired sized pancakes on hot skillet.

Carefully flip as the bottom side browns lightly.
Finish cooking. (both sides lightly browned and set)
Serve as desired with: butter, syrup, whipped topping, fresh fruit, powdered sugar.

(The oil/ butter on the skillet may be omitted in a non-stick skillet, or substitute a pan spray.)
Nickole will not even TRY a banana. She won't eat oatmeal, even in a cookie. Yet, she begs for these pancakes. They are high in protein & fiber, gluten free, sugar free and basically fat free (before toppings). 
From time to time,  I add spices to the batter. Cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of ginger.  Try adding pecans or walnuts for a banana bread flavor.
(Makes about 6 medium pancakes)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Ropa Vieja Chicken or Beef

Ropa Vieja

Chicken or Beef

Daniel and Sam had gone to visit my Mom in Texas. She made them supper, from a recipe she found in a magazine. It was called Ropa Vieja, which in Cuban Spanish means "Old Clothes". This is due to the final appearance of the dish. It resembles a pile of rags. The twins liked her recipe so much, they asked me to make it. When I called Mom for the recipe, she couldn't find the right magazine, and suggested I just look online for it.
Seems there are dozens, if not hundreds of Ropa Vieja recipes out there. The one I used was wildly different than the one Mom made for the boys. I was reluctant to jump into the highly improbable combination of spices, so didn't add as much of some of the spices in the recipe I started with called for. I have never been a green olive fan, so left them out the first (couple) of times I made the recipe. I tried making it from memory the next time, and added "wrong" spices... which still turned out even better than before. I braved up and added the olives- and oh my! Just trust me on this, they add such a depth of flavor!
It seems like there are a LOT of ingredients in this dish... but they are mostly spices. Line them up and don't be afraid of them. You can add less of the ones you are thinking- NO WAY Does THAT belong in a Savory Food.... but once you become addicted to the flavors going on here, you will add a bit more next time!

The first eight or so times I made this, I used  a beef roast. You want the long, stringy bits to make the finished dish look like a pile of rags. In a bind one night, with guests at hand, I substituted chicken for beef. Mr C and I found we like it even better with chicken, and we like it a LOT with beef!

You need:
Roast Or Chicken (I am using boneless, skinless thighs tonight)
canned diced tomatoes (I used a pint of home canned. You can use fresh if you have them )
tomato paste (Don't ask me why one needs to paste the tomatoes back together after they are diced!)
Rotel style  tomatoes (or leave out if you don't like it as spicy)
a carrot
a celery rib
colorful bell peppers (I use at least 1 1/2 to 2 red, orange, and /or yellow) Green if you like them.
onions (I use at least two large, because we LIKE onion)
Kalamari Olives (I use 1/2- 1 cup, depending on how many I am feeding)
Capers (About 2 TBS +/-)
chicken broth (has better depth of flavor, even if you use roast) (1 1/2 - 2 Cups)
white wine 1/2 cup (for the pot, more for yourself!)
1 or 2 bay leaf
1/4-1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (I grated mine fresh)
1/4 tsp ground allspice (I ground 6 or 7 whole dried berries)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 to 1 tsp smoked paprika (I love the smoked, family not so much)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp paprika (Double if not adding smoked paprika as well)
1 (+) TBS minced garlic
1-5 dried cayenne peppers (or red pepper flakes, you decide how spicy)
1/2 to 1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4- 1/2 tsp caraway seed (if you like them)
1 tsp. salt +/-
In a heavy skillet, sear the meat in a small amount of oil.  
Transfer to a slow cooker.
Add the spices, tomato products, broth, celery rib and carrot. (The celery and carrot cook away into the broth for flavor and are NOT meant to remain recognizable.)
Allow to cook several hours
In same skillet (or dirty up another pan if you like!) add the onions and bell peppers. I slice the onions and peppers in half, then into long strips. I saute them until beautifully browned. 
Add to slow cooker. Add the wine, olives+ 1-2 TBS of olive brine, drained capers.

Allow to cook at least another 45 minutes. Taste test, adding salt as needed. The meat should be falling apart. Use forks to shred into the broth.
*Discard bay leaf before serving. Bay leaf is a choking hazard.*

Serve with black beans and rice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fried Green ~ Pickled Tomatoes

Fried Green ~ Pickled Tomatoes

In looking for ways to use green tomatoes this summer, I tried pickled refrigerator tomatoes from a recipe* I had looked up online.
Me being me... I really tried to follow their recipe, but made it my own.
This recipe needs to be started at least three days to three weeks ahead.
For Pickled Tomatoes:
Sterilize three (pint) jars.
Wash and slice Green tomatoes, stacking the slices tightly into the jars. Don't worry about leaving headroom, you need them unable to float! (Be sure you use tomatoes that have not begun to ripen at all.)
Add a hot pepper or two (or three!) to the jars as you fill them.
(I used fresh ripe cayenne in some, and some strips of extra hot jalapeno to others.) (This jar was opened and is mostly eaten. Once they are done, people just can't stay out of them!)
In a saucepan, bring to a boil:
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used jarred, you may have fresh!)
4 teaspoons salt (I use Himalayan pink salt)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of dill seed
1 teaspoon course grind black pepper
Boil until sugar is dissolved.
(At this point, the original* recipe called to add 2 tablespoons of Bourbon. In my first batch, I left it out completely. In my second batch, I substituted rum due to allergy concerns with my visiting family. Third batch, I added Jack Daniel's whiskey. The recipe was great in all its modifications!) (Rum is Gluten Free)
Pour the pickling liquid over the jarred tomatoes, completely submerging them.
Cap the jars, and set them into the refrigerator for AT LEAST 3 days. (They will keep up to 3 weeks.)

OK. We are ready to fry some up!
My breading mix is Gluten Free:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup tapioca flour (Aka Tapioca starch) (Corn starch will also work)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika
I combine this in a gallon bag.

Heat your favorite frying oil to 375*

Drain the pickled tomatoes. Shake a few at a time in the bag of breading. Lay them out on a piece of waxed paper (or whatever!) as your oil heats. Once the oil reaches temperature, fry the tomatoes to a golden brown. Drain on absorbent toweling, and serve. (I sprinkle with additional salt to taste, and sometimes even a bit of Parmesan cheese.)

*I found the original recipe at "Love & Olive Oil"  (

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Granny's Garden Vegetable Saute

Granny's Garden Vegetable Saute

This recipe is one my beloved Granny, Arretta Beard used to make. It isn't so much of an actual recipe, as it is a way to use the bits and pieces of garden produce that you just don't have enough of to make a dish of alone. This is what I had last night: 

A huge zucchini that had been over looked at least a couple of days... coupled with over 2" of rain! Some ripe tomatoes that needed used ASAP. Onion. Yellow squash, (red) bell pepper, mushrooms, green beans, and okra. (I cooked  and served the okra separately, but it is fine in this dish, if you like.) I had a baggie of leftover crudites from Mr C's lunch... celery, baby carrots.
The key ingredients in Granny's dish always were squash, tomatoes and onions. 
So, whack up the veggies. (This zucchini was so big, I scooped the seeds out and chopped up the flesh of it. I actually had enough raw veggies cut up that I sealed half in a freezer bag and froze it for another day.)

 Get your skillet going, and add a touch of cooking oil of your choice. 
(If you choose to have meat in this dish, this is a good time to brown it up and set aside.  Saves dirtying up another skillet! Granny liked "Little Smokies" in hers. I usually use a summer sausage. This time I used *Three Cheese Chicken Sausage Links* from Aldi. I have made it with Italian sausage. I have made it with leftover chopped chicken. But it is just as good without meat.)

I seasoned this one with salt, pepper, and some smoked paprika. Other choices- whatever herbs you have on hand! Basil is wonderful. Maybe a couple sprigs of rosemary some time. Summer Savory is good.

Add the chopped veggies to the oil in the hot skillet. You really need very little oil, just enough to coat the skillet so the vegetables don't stick. Allow to cook, stirring from time to time to keep the vegetables cooking more evenly. You may want to cover this as it cooks.

Cook until your veggies are tender. I had a lid over this part of the time, so the captured heat and steam could cook things through without evaporating too much juice.  Add the cooked meat back in, if you wish.
 I served this over "Dirty Rice" (from a box.)  I usually just use plain cooked rice. If you have leftover rice from some other meal, just toss it in as the vegetables cook. Could be served over noodles, or sauteed shredded cabbage.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Thai Basil Chicken (Spicy!)

Thai Basil Chicken

Chicken breast (or) Ground chicken
Thai Basil
Thai peppers
Oyster sauce
Fish sauce
Coconut sugar
Cooked rice, hot and ready to serve
Fried eggs

This easy dish was my first taste of Thai food, prepared by my son Stephen on a visit to my house after his stay in Thailand.
Prep work is easy, the cooking is easier!

Use ground chicken, or dice chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Set aside until time to cook.

Chop some Thai peppers. The amount you use depends entirely on how much heat you want. When Stephen prepared this for us, he used about half a cup of peppers... I use less. MUCH LESS.

Roll fresh Thai basil into bundles and chop.
Set aside until time to cook.

In a small bowl, mix equal parts of coconut sugar, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. This is the glaze. Set aside until time to cook. (I used about 2 tablespoons of each here.)

OK! When you are ready to cook.... Get your skillet or wok "Screaming Hot."
Add a small amount of cooking oil of your choice. I happened to use sunflower oil this time.
Add the chicken and stir it around.

When the chicken is almost, but not quite "done", add  the peppers. Stir them around. The skillet should stay as HOT as you can keep it.

Next, pour your glaze over the chicken and peppers.  Allow the chicken to finish cooking, which shouldn't take long at all. (Half a minute?)

OK. Turn off the heat. Take your nice pile of  chopped basil, and throw it over the top of the chicken. 
Put a lid over it and let it wilt while you fry some eggs. (You may want to heat the pan for the eggs when you are starting to cook the chicken.)  

Time to plate!
 Put down a bed of rice. Give the basil chicken a good stir, then put a serving over the rice. Top with a fried egg. I was told it is traditional to leave the yolk runny, but if you prefer the yolks cooked hard, that is your choice!

From the time you start cooking until you sit down to eat this is less than 10 minutes.

The amount of chicken I used was two split, boneless, skinless breasts. I used three or four green cayenne peppers, as I didn't have Thai peppers. I have Thai basil growing in my garden. The flavor is slightly different than your regular basil, but any fresh basil would work in this.  I used a good sized handful, the amount is up to your tastes. (I don't think you can add too much!)
You can find Oyster sauce, Fish sauce, Thai peppers, and Thai basil at pretty much any Asian market. Even Walmart carries the sauces... but it is less pricey at the Asian market... at least around here!

This is one food that just makes you want to have it again and again. It is so easy to make, and delicious you may be finding yourself making it every day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spiral Fries Surprise! (Zucchini)

My sweet Mom knows how much I have been wanting a spiralizer for vegetables. She gave me one on my recent trip to her house. Today was my first attempt at using it. I had visions of spaghetti, all low carb and saucy. But my first idea upon seeing these fun mounds of zucchini was "I bet these would make awesome fries." (And they DO!)

Zucchini Spiral Fries
(Gluten Free)

Zucchini Squash, Spiralized
(May be purchased or made with your favorite vegetable spiralizing device)
1/2 to 1 cup EACH Tapioca flour and Coconut flour
1/2  tsp. salt (I used pink salt)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika

Hot oil for frying.

I mixed the dry ingredients in a gallon zipper style bag.  Shake the squash spirals in the seasoned flour. Fry a few at a time in the hot oil, until golden. Drain in absorbent material, such as a paper towel or clean dish cloth.  Sprinkle with  more salt, if desired . Try with grated Parmesan cheese!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Howdy! How about a fresh post? (Grilled radishes and Zucchini with Peppers)

Our meals tend to get repetitive- almost everything we cook is (WAS!!) already on here.
Seems that the twins and Tommy (Stephen!) turned into more serious Foodies than I could of ever imagined, growing up.
I am hoping Stephen (Tommy!) will post a few more of the recipes he has been making. In the last six months, he has introduced us to Filipeno Chicken Adobo, and to Thai Basil Chicken. My Mom (Rose) made a dish called Ropa Vieja. She had seen the recipe in a magazine. The twins tried it at her house, and asked me to make it sometime. Mom told me just to use Google to search for a recipe for it. My recipe and her recipe for Ropa Vieja were PLANETS apart .
Ropa Vieja (Called the National Dish of Cuba)  is translated to mean "old clothes", as the finished dish looks like a pile of rags.
(I use the recipe I found on The Daring Gourmet. Then made it my own.)
It's about a tie flavor wise in my opinion between this and and my regular recipe for Roast Beast.
In the coming posts, I intend to share recipes for Chicken Adobo, Basil Chicken, and Ropa Vieja.

We are in the beginnings of garden season. About all we have harvested so far this year are our radishes. I have learned you can COOK radishes! Who knew? Total game changer for me. They were never a vegetable I cared much for. Cooking them totally alters their flavor. (Last night we had them grilled.)

(Slice zucchini,  spread on paper towels (or a clean dish cloth) sprinkle with salt, and let it sweat for a couple of hours. Wash and slice radishes. Trim some larger green onion scallions to about 3", split lengthwise. Chop a fresh pepper or three. I had Thai peppers on hand from Tommy's recipe a couple days ago. Combine in a grill safe pan (I used cast iron, but a disposable aluminum works too.) with some oil (I used avocado oil) Grill until as done as you like! Add more salt and black pepper if desired.

We served this with some BBQ boneless beef "country ribs". (Mr Stubbs Sweet Heat BBQ sauce is pretty happening!)
 In coming posts, we will be adding some more ways we use our garden produce. This garden season, we have about 40 tomato plants (in five varieties), at least ten squash plants (in three varieties.... and that's not counting the volunteers taking over the side of the compost heap!), two kinds of okra, jalapenos, Tabasco, cayenne, ghost peppers; beans, onions, tomatillos (in two varieties), cucumber, turnips, beets, potatoes, and herbs. Last year we made a dried pepper blend that already has a waiting list for more this year. My pickled beets were a hit as well. I have a busy canning season ahead.
Thanks for stopping by!