Friday, June 29, 2012

Mexican Lasagna (Grain Free) and DIY Taco Seasoning

This is a super easy yummy dinner. This will make one large casserole or two 9x13 casseroles)

Brown 5 lbs hamburger (or 5 lbs hamburger plus one pound pureed liver mixed in. Also you can sub some of the hamburger for grated dried summer squash if you like. I don't like to freeze my excess summer squash so I grate it and dry it in the dehydrator. It is great to have on hand for soups stews casseroles.... It is a good ground beef extender.)

with one large onion and 3-4 large garlic cloves

Season to taste with Taco seasoning (see below for recipe)

You'll need 8-10 grain free Tortillas (I use this recipe here. These are a staple in our home that I try to always have on hand in the freezer ready for use, we use them in all kinds of recipes)

2 quarts tomatoes I use home canned but diced fresh or store bought in a BPA free can will work the same. (Drain most of the liquid, if using fresh you will have excess liquid in your casserole but it won't effect the flavor and personally I don't mind it, sometimes I'll drain it off and add it to a soup later.

about two cups?? yoghourt cheese (or cream cheese)

1 can green chillies (or more, I'd use two if I were making this for my husband and I only, but two is too much for the kids)

grated cheddar cheese (about six cups??) (a bit of Parmesan mixed in is good too)

green onion and cilantro

Sour cream and/or guacamole for garnish 

spread a nice layer of yoghourt cheese on each "tortilla" and spread the green chillies on top of the yoghourt cheese. 

In your casserole dish (or dishes) layer the meat mixture, prepared tortillas, cheese and tomatoes. Top the last layer with cheddar cheese and garnish with green onions. bake until its bubbly, hot all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, guacamole and fresh cilantro on top.

To make your own taco seasoning mix together:

4 T chilli powder 
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 t paprika
2 T ground cumin
2 T coriander
1 T plus 1t good salt (I prefer Himalayan)
1T plus 1 t black pepper
1 t dried oregano *I prefer to omit this ingredient and add oregano essential oil to whatever it is I'm cooking bc the flavor is so much better but if you don't have oregano oil on hand to use then add the dried to your seasoning mix.  

Store in a jar to have on hand whenever you need it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Simple All Pourpose Spray Cleaner

This is pretty much the cleaner I use for everything. It works great, smells great, is so simple and super cheap.

Before you can make your spray cleaner you'll need to put a gallon of cheap white vinegar in a glass jar and add citrus peels to it, I save my citrus peels in the freezer for this purpose.  I let this sit in my pantry for at least a week before using (though longer is nicer). Sometimes I strain it, sometimes I don't, I haven't found that it really matters. You can certainly make less than a gallon, I just prefer to make a gallon at a time so I always have it on hand.

Now to make the spray cleaner I add about an inch of this citrus infused vinegar to a large spray bottle (the kind you kind find in the garden dept. called plant sprayers)

Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water and add some essential oils. 

It really is that simple. Occasionally if I have a super greasy job to do (like the oven vent) I'll add some Sals Suds or liquid dish soap (just a few drops)  but I don't find that for everyday use its necessary.

Beef Breakfast Sausage

This recipe was adapted from a turkey sausage recipe I got from a friend years ago. Since I don't have access to affordable, quality, ground turkey,  I have adjusted and tweaked that original recipe to use with our hamburger meat instead.

For every pound of grass fed hamburger add:

1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic crushed

I usually cook a tiny bit in a small pan after mixing it to make sure I don't need to adjust the seasoning but otherwise that's all there is to it.

I prepare about ten pounds of this at a time. Some I fry up ground to freeze and have on hand for soups, casseroles and such then I make the rest into patties which I keep in the freezer to fry up when ever needed for breakfast.

Because I can't eat eggs, my staple breakfast is one of these patties simmered in broth with squash or whatever leftover veggies I have on hand.

White Bean and Chicken Stew

This is the perfect winter comfort food, but we like it so well we eat it throughout the year and unfortunately even though its June, here in Central Oregon it feels like "soup weather" today (personally though, I think any weather is soup weather).

To make this simply throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and let it cook all day.

From experience I can tell you it is crucial that you remember to both turn on AND plug in the crock pot in order to come home to cooked meal, oh yes and putting the lid on the crock pot is crucial too ;) 

3-4 cups white beans that have been soaked overnight in water with a splash of whey in it (whenever I soak beans I always soak as many as I can at once then I freeze the soaked beans in four cup packages so I always have soaked beans ready to use.)

3-4 lbs uncooked organic pastured chicken thighs (boneless is nice if you access to good boneless chkn thighs, however bc I prefer to use the meat we raise and I've no clue how to de-bone a chicken, I have made this with thighs with the bones in. It's really not a big deal for our family to pick the bones out once its cooked and I figure it adds to the nutritional quality of the meal to have them in anyway.)

5-6 cups homemade chicken broth

1 can green chillies (from BPA free cans) 

3 large cloves of garlic crushed

1 large onion diced

About 1/4 tsp cayenne (adjust according to how hot your family likes their food)

1 good tsp paprika

1 heaping tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

2-3 drops oregano essential oil

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

about 1 tsp sea salt

We garnish this with any combination of the following; finely chopped cabbage, fresh cilantro, diced onion or green onion,  diced avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese and sometimes some fresh diced up tomatoes too :)