Thursday, April 12, 2012

And the secret ingredient is.....

       Last week I wrote about how I'm trying new vegetables.  Kale was our big suprise,  we love kale and I'm constanly finding ways to add it to our food.  This week's secret ingredient is  Fennel.  I don't know a thing about fennel,  except what I need to know and that is this.... it's a cure for gas.  A few people in my household may or may not have an 'issue' with flatulence,  that's all I'm saying.  But, we've been enjoying having fennel around.
       So,  what do you do with fennel?   I really don't know.  I chopped it up and ate it fresh,  it tasted like celery but sweeter.  I also added it to my potato soup in place of celery.  It tasted the same.  Looking online for recipes was no help,  it seems that most people who cook with fennel also cook with things that are outside my sphere of home cookin'.  Food snobs I call them.
       Anyways,  fennel is here to stay.  If anybody has some regular person recipe that uses fennel, please share.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Real Food Menu Planning

This post is actually about how I don't menu plan.  In the past I've been a big fan of planning our meals,  it just seems to make the week go easier and I think I do a better job of using all my food and saving a bit of money.  These days though,  I don't know how to cook.  Real Food is very new to me.  It used to be that I knew that in a pinch I could always throw a roast in the crock pot with a can of mushroom soup,  serve it with pasta and some frozen peas and everyone would be happy.  But, alas those are the old days, time to become fluent in the language of 'real'.

This is what we've been doing lately.  Alex goes grocery shopping once a week and has WAY too much fun in the produce section.  He comes home with piles of fruits and vegetables and then it's my job to figure out how to use them.  It's a very fun challenge to find ways to use everything by the time he goes shopping again.  Basically this is what I do everyday.  I decide on the meat and prepare it.  I then say a little prayer and go to my fridge and just start taking out vegetables and chopping and sauteeing or roasting.  I make myself try new combinations and new (to me) ways of preparing them.  In general I've learned that as long as I can add a good layer of cheese it will always be okay.
Here is one of our favorite recipes that 'just happened'.

Upsidedown Shepard's Pie (that doesn't really fit,  but I have no better ideas for a name)

1. Brown a pound of hamburger.
2.Chop up a large sweet potato and boil until soft.
3.Sautee some mushrooms in butter and then add a bunch of chopped up kale and some minced garlic and cook until the kale is wilted.
4. Layer in a casserole dish;  sweet potato,  kale and mushrooms, hamburger and of course top with cheese.
5.  Bake for about 20 mins at 350 F.

Two months ago I didn't know what kale was.  I thought it was a seaweed,  I think that's kelp.  I have yet to try kelp.

This has been shared at Healthy 2day Wednesdays and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.