Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Fassolatha- Greek Bean Soup

Everyone in my house really likes Fassolatha. It is one of the soups we have in regular rotation. Since it uses dry beans, simple ingredients and no meat it is very economical and accessible to make. I have also seen it spelled fasolatha or fasolada.

I first made this soup after a death in the family 9 years ago when we had a lot of sudden house guests to feed and some were vegetarian. This soup was great for a large group and was warm and comforting. It reheats and freezes well.

Fassolatha

1/2 lb dry white beans- Great Northern, cannellini or Navy

8 c water

2 bay leaves

2- 3 oz carrots, sliced or chopped

1 large onion, chopped

5 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2 c)

1 can diced tomato

3 T – 1/2 c olive oil- to taste)

1 1/2 tsp salt- or to taste

1 tsp ground black pepper- or to taste

parsley, chopped

3 T lemon juice- optional

Rinse and soak dry beans at least 8 hours in a large pot of cold water. Drain.

Add 8 c of water to pot along with bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer  1 hour. Remove bay leaves.

Add chopped carrots, onions, celery and simmer 1 hour longer. Add tomato, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. I use about 3 T olive oil.

Serve warm with feta cheese, olives and crusty bread.  Makes about 10 servings

I have made this soup in the slow cooker. I just dumped everything in at the beginning after soaking and draining the beans and cooked it on low 8 hours.

 

 

Advertisements
1 Comment »

Meal Planning: Meatless May

It is 2:42 AM. It has been pouring rain all night and I’m awake making sure my basement doesn’t flood. Since I am up I decided to tackle meal planning for next month. We decided as a family to have meatless dinners in May even though we are not vegetarians. Just an experiment to see what it does to our budget and also to show Amethesto that there are lots of meatless meal options that are not weird or boring.
I started by making a list of meatless dishes we already have had and adding a few new things. Amethesto is very anti-tofu and I’m not really a fan of it either so no tofu dishes. My next step was to decide a few categories or themes like breakfast for dinner, soup, pasta, rice. That helps to narrow down the choices as I can quickly find 4 dishes to fit those catergories. Then I just fill in the rest.

Here are my 28 dinners for May:

1. Eggs, hashbrowns, fruit
2. Black bean and rice soup
3. Stuffed shells, salad
4. Cheesy broccoli rice casserole
5. Mexican pizza
6. Batsaria
7. Vegetarian shepherd’s pie
8. Baked strawberry cheesecake oatmeal
9. Lentil soup, bread
10. Baked spaghetti olivetti
11. Black bean empanadas, salad
12. Falafel, Greek rice
13. Mac & cheese, green beans
14. Tator tot nachos
15. Pancakes, fruit
16. Tomato soup , grilled cheese sandwich
17. Broccoli bowtie pesto pasta, garlic bread
18. Beans and rice, cornbread
19. Lasagna zucchini boats
20. Greek potato, zucchini and bean stew
21. Coconut rice, veggie eggrolls
22. Coco wheats, fruit
23. Cheese soup, beer bread
24. Tortellini, salad
25. Veggie burgers, baked potato
26. Cheese ravioli, broccoli and mushrooms
27. Mujaddara, salad
28. Taco casserole

Some recipes originally had meat but I am leaving it out or replacing it with something like beans.

Recipes and details to be posted as we have things. Check back throughout the month!

4 Comments »

Family Favorite Meatballs

image

I’ve been using the same meatball recipe for 6 years now. It is so tasty and definitely a favorite for my family.
Inspiration recipe-> http://www.food.com/recipe/kittencals-italian-melt-in-your-mouth-meatballs-69173
Tonight I am using jarred sauce. You should have about 5-6 cups of sauce to cook the meatballs in. I have baked the meatballs in the oven before and they are okay that way but are really best when cooked in the sauce.
I have used mixtures of ground beef, ground pork or sausage. If you use seasoned sausage you might want to use less salt and seasonings. I have not tried ground turkey. Tonight I am only using ground beef.

Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c milk
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1/3 c panko crumbs
2 T minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Start warming sauce on the stove. Mix all ingredients together well in a large bowl. Shape into 1″ balls. Drop meatballs into simmering sauce and cook 20 minutes. Do not stir during that 20 minutes!
Stir and simmer 20 minutes longer. Serve alone, with pasta, or on a roll with mozzarella. Freezes well.

To bake meatballs: Heat oven to 350°F. Bake meatballs on a baking sheet about 25 minutes. They will be drier than the meatballs cooked in sauce. Add to sauce or have them alone.

Leave a comment »

Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings

image

Morning: It is 50°F and rainy this morning. Our kitty spent several minutes sulking because I closed the window that Hagbard had opened for her before leaving for work. She wasn’t even in the room until I went to close it. It’s like shutting off the tv when someone is snoring their head off and they wake up protesting that they were watching that. Whatever. I’m cold so the cat can just get over it.
A cool day seems right for chicken and dumplings and a perfect time to bust out the slow cooker! My recipe for today is from http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/10/slow-cooker-chicken-dumplings/
I made a few small changes. I added a potato and only put in 4 oz of carrots. I had about 2 cups of broth left from making potato soup recently so I used that plus 2 cups of water. I added the salt in the beginning with everything else. I didn’t see a reason to wait to add that.

Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings
Soup:
2 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
3 ribs celery
4 oz carrots
1 potato
1 large chicken breast
1 whole bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 c broth
2 c water
1 tsp salt or to taste

Dumplings:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 T dried parsley
6 T cold butter
3/4 tsp sugar
2/3 c milk

Mince the garlic and cut the carrots, potato and celery into small pieces. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, basil, thyme, chicken breast, water, broth, pepper and 1 tsp salt to a slow cooker. Stir to combine and then cook on low for eight hours. ( I cooked mine on low for 9 hours before making the dumplings simply because I got it started early.)
After cooking for eight hours on low, remove the chicken from the broth and place it on a cutting board. Turn the slow cooker on high now. Shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the pot. Keep the slow cooker covered as much as possible during this process to retain heat and maintain the temperature. Allow the soup to continue to cook on high while you mix the dumpling batter.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, and sugar. Mix well. Add butter in small chunks and cut it in or work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add the milk and stir until a very soft paste-like mixture forms.
Remove the lid from the slow cooker and drop the dumpling batter into the soup by the heaping spoonful. Return the lid to the slow cooker and allow the dumplings to steam for 20-30 minutes. After 20-30 minutes they should have fluffed and expanded from the heat. Although they may look moist on the outside, they will be light and fluffy on the inside. Serve hot.

Evening:
The sun has finally made a brief appearance. Shredding the chicken and mixing up the dumpling batter took about 10 minutes. The chicken really just fell apart so it is more like I poked it with a fork a few times. I found that the dumplings were not really done enough at 20 minutes but at around 30 minutes were less mushy.

Verdict:
Lounmoun: So full of warm, yummy food! I want dessert dumplings now too.
Hagbard: It was good. I would eat it again.
Amethesto: I don’t want it. Dumplings are weird, wet things.

Thanks to Budget Bytes for another great recipe for Hagbard and I to enjoy!

Leave a comment »

Sweet Potato Fritters

Tonight I was hot, tired and cranky so cooking was less fun. I made sweet potato fritters with sriracha mayo to go alongside simple eggs.
http://www.ciaochowbambina.com/sweet-potato-fritters-sriracha-mayo/
I asked Hagbard how he wanted his eggs. He said he would eat them any way I wanted to cook them as long as there was toast. So I cooked eggs with the cat begging and tripping me the whole time and forgot to make toast!
The sweet potato fritters were easy and good with the eggs. I liked the spicy mayo.

image

Leave a comment »

How To Make A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This month my daughter Amethesto chose four things to learn to cook. One of these things was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a classic.
I don’t remember learning how to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m pretty sure I was not born knowing how to make them but they aren’t complicated so good for non-cooks.

The sandwiches of my childhood were white sandwich bread with Velvetta cheese slices cut into triangles with the molten cheese oozing out. Velvetta does melt very well but at some point I developed an intense dislike for the way it tastes so we don’t use it at my house.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velveeta

As previously noted, it isn’t hard or complicated to make a grilled cheese sandwich. You can use a few different methods and change up ingredients to suit your tastes.
First thing to decide is your ingredients. I like sourdough bread best.  French bread, pumpernickel or rye bread are also good choices. Tonight we used an English toasting sandwich bread and it is pretty good as well. Choose a cheese-or combination of cheeses- that melt well. Cheddar, pepperjack, feta, mozzarella are some examples. I think thin sliced cheese is easier to work with than shredded cheese. You can have just cheese or you can add things like thin sliced/shredded cooked meat, pepperoni, thin cooked burger patty, tuna, caramelized onions, mushrooms, baby spinach, olives, peppers or even fruit…get creative!  Use up some leftovers! Don’t put very watery/juicy things directly on your sandwich though or your bread may get soggy. A grilled Reuben sandwich is delicious but drain the sauerkraut really well first. Finally, I choose to spread the outside of my sandwiches with regular butter. You could try something like margarine or cooking spray but they might brown differently, not be as crispy or taste different. Your call.

Next you need to choose what you will cook it with.  I’m a fan of my stainless steel pans for most things but when I want to make a grilled cheese sandwich it has to be my cast iron griddle. It is great for sandwiches, quesadillas, pancakes or French Toast. I have used an indoor electric George Foreman grill for making sandwiches as well. It works fine but I don’t have much counter space and it is annoying to clean so I prefer to use my stove. An advantage to that kind of grill though is that you cook both sides at once so it is a little faster. I think the sandwich gets squished a bit flatter.  I have never tried to make a sandwich with a clothes iron but some people have! http://www.southphillyblocks.org/photos_essays/grilled_cheese/

Now that those important decisions have been made, we are ready to assemble and cook!
Heat your pan, griddle or grill (or clothes iron. Ha!). I put my cast iron griddle over medium heat. Hagbard tried making grilled cheese on a higher temperature and ended up with a burnt result. Medium heat seems to be best. I let the griddle heat until drops of water sizzle and dance.
Assemble your sandwich while your griddle is heating. Put bread, cheese, other fillings, more cheese and bread. I used 1 ounce of cheddar cheese and 2 slices of deli ham for my half sandwich and double the cheese for Hagbard’s full size sandwich. Amethesto used about 1 oz of  pepperjack and 1 slice of ham on a half sandwich. The thicker your ingredients the longer it will take to heat through and melt the cheese even though the outside of your bread is browning so lower the temperature and cook longer if you want a thicker sandwich.

img_20160416_1816178_rewind_kindlephoto-699657641.jpg

Note the cheese on both sides of the ham.

Butter the outside of the sandwich evenly. I butter one side and put that side down on the griddle with the cheese and meat, etc on top of that. Butter the top slice of bread and place it on top. You don’t need a ton of butter.

img_20160416_1816596_rewind_kindlephoto-699715429.jpg

All buttered up!

After about 5 minutes on the griddle the bread on bottom should be a golden brown and the cheese should be getting melty. Flip the sandwich over. Cook another 5 minutes.

img_20160416_1822221_rewind_kindlephoto-699831099.jpg

That’s it. If you were using one of those grills for cooking your sandwich just 3-5 minutes would probably be long enough.

img_20160416_1818451_rewind_kindlephoto-699783352.jpg

Amethesto’s sandwich and potatoes.

We had our sandwiches with simple roasted potato slices tonight. Grilled sandwiches also go great with soup and we will always have grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade cream of tomato soup. Yummy!

2 Comments »

Chicken Pot Pie With Biscuit Crust

image

This was not the chicken biscuit recipe I had originally planned to make this month. The one I had planned to make had cheese and sour cream with chicken and vegetables. When I went to find my recipe it was missing. I found similar recipes online but they used things like canned soup and mayonnaise and I didn’t really want to use that stuff. So I found this chicken pot pie recipe on allrecipes.com that didn’t used canned ingredients except for canned biscuits.
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/216758/moms-fabulous-chicken-pot-pie-with-biscuit-crust/
I made a few small changes. I used regular whole milk instead of half and half cream and I added 1/4 tsp garlic powder. I left out 1/2 cup of the chicken and two biscuits for Amethesto because she didn’t want to try this mixture.

Verdict: It was not hard to make and was very tasty and filling. Hagbard had two servings but I was full with one. I wanted to eat more though!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

2 Comments »

Stuffed Bread With Buffalo Chicken

Hagbard is very happy tonight. We are having stuffed bread which has been one of his favorites since we married 16 years ago. The man loves stuffed food. He also loves clothes with tons of pockets. I think they are related somehow. He’s a complicated person.
Back to the stuffed bread making!

I made slow cooker shredded buffalo chicken to use tonight. http://hostthetoast.com/5-bc-recipes/  I also made some basic white bread dough today. You can use canned bread dough. I usually make my own because it is cheaper and I like kneading dough. It feels kind of therapeutic. I vary the filling and type of bread dough I use for stuffed bread so if one day you want to use crescent roll, French bread or pizza dough with other meats, cheeses or vegetables you can. Just follow these basic steps for whatever variation you choose. This is the first time I’ve used buffalo chicken as the filling.
I like to bake my stuffed bread on a preheated pizza stone. I inherited my pizza stone completely unused from my parents. They had it for years gathering dust in the original packaging- wisely they passed it on to me. I’ve used it like crazy ever since for making pizza, naan, pita bread, and stuffed bread. If you don’t have one just use a baking sheet.

Stuffed Bread With Buffalo Chicken
1 loaf raw bread dough
About 1 c shredded buffalo chicken
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Optional: grated Parmesan, dill, butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the pizza stone for at least 10 minutes if you are using it. Grease your baking sheet if you are using that instead.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out in a rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Put chicken and cheese in center leaving stopping about 1″ from the ends and about 2″ from the sides. Cut in from the edges to the center in 1″ intervals on both sides. Fold ends in and overlap alternate side pieces over the filling.
Optional: Before baking, butter or spray the top with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dill weed.
Place loaf on baking sheet or pizza stone. Bake 20-30 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 4-6 servings.

img_20160410_1752473_rewind_kindlephoto-194950232.jpg

Let’s wrap this up!

img_20160410_1753197_rewind_kindlephoto-195010960.jpg

Tuck in the ends first.

img_20160410_1802235_rewind_kindlephoto-195151147.jpg

Ready to bake.

img_20160410_1840257_rewind_kindlephoto-195364680.jpg

Look at that warm melty cheese oozing out! Yum!

Verdict:

Hagbard- This is really tasty. I want the leftovers for lunch tomorrow… if we have any leftovers!

Lounmoun- This IS tasty but oozy. I have to alternate which end I eat from so I don’t squish all the filling out! I think maybe some red pepper flakes would be good in or on this. Some onion or blue cheese might be nice in it too.

Amethesto- Did not eat dinner here with us tonight. Did not inherit her father’s love of stuffed food anyway. More for us!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

Leave a comment »

Naan Personal Pizza

image

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread cooked naan with sauce, top with cheese and preferred toppings. Bake about 10 minutes. Easy fast pizza for a busy night.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

Leave a comment »

Pizza Sauce, Substitutions And Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

image

Even when you plan meals sometimes you run into little bumps that change your direction slightly. Today is one of those days for me.
We were supposed to have pizza quesadillas for dinner tonight. Last night we had chicken tacos and all but one tortilla got eaten. I had some naan in the freezer so now we will have naan pizza. Still quick and easy.
Usually I just use spaghetti sauce for our pizza but we didn’t have any. I found a recipe for “exquisite pizza sauce” on Allrecipes.com that seemed pretty popular.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/17319/exquisite-pizza-sauce/
The recipe calls for anchovy paste which I do not have. I probably will never have anchovy paste. However, the internet tells me I might try substituting things like miso, kalamati olives or Worcestershire sauce for anchovy paste. I do have all 3 of those things so I decided to use a bit of all of them. Worcestershire sauce actually contains anchovies so if you are wanted to do a vegetarian substitute do not use that. Some of the recipe reviews say that the sauce is too sweet with the 2 T of honey or too spicy with cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. I went ahead and added them. It tastes fine to me but if you are more sensitive to spicy foods you could reduce or leave out the cayenne pepper and pepper flakes.
I decided to heat my sauce a bit as the miso paste wasn’t mixing in very well. It helped. I have made this in the morning so I will put it in the refrigerator until later. I think there will be a bunch leftover so I will probably end up freezing some for another time.
This morning I also put some chicken breast in the slow cooker to make crock pot buffalo chicken. I plan to use that tomorrow in a stuffed bread. http://hostthetoast.com/5-bc-recipes/   I’m making half a recipe today and expect to have some leftover. You could also use this chicken on pizza, with pasta or in a casserole if sandwiches don’t appeal to you. If you have a lot more than you can use at once, you can freeze the cooked shredded chicken for future meals.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: