Friday, September 16, 2011


These meal ideas are dedicated to all of you over-worked, under-paid, stressed out, prematurely graying parents of 50 [okay, you fill in the number but I'm sure it feels like that some days] who, if you are really honest with yourself, consider cooking low on [and some days at the bottom of] the priority list. Don't feel guilty about this! For many, this is your reality. So, that is where I am going to meet you today - in the mud of scattered toys, the muck of "I need it NOW!", and the sticky mess we sometimes call life. And the best part, even the non-cook in your house can whip these up!

These recipes are in keeping with the seasons so you probably will find a little more meat or animal products and a little less cucumber.  That being said, even in the winter, meat products should take a backseat to legumes, root vegetables, and whole grains.

A note about the seasons:

Although it's not winter [yet], in my neck of the woods it is getting cooler and my body is beginning to crave a warmer selection of foods. This is evidence that our bodies are directly connected to the earth on which we live.

Eating seasonally is easier on both your body and the environment. In the cooler winter months [assuming you are from a northern region], the body needs extra warming, dense, more fatty and filling foods to enable itself to stay warm and healthy. Many of these foods are mucus forming that, in this case, is a good thing. I'm not talking about the nasty green stuff that comes sailing out of your nose when a cold comes to visit. I am talking about the lubricating substance the body makes in order to keep you, your skin, and every other part of your body well hydrated.

Foods that are consumed in their proper season generally require less fossil fuels [especially for transportation] and less chemicals [for growth, color and flavor retention, bug and bacteria prevention and transportation]. Even if you aren't that interested in caring for the environment, eating in this fashion means healthier air, dirt, and water which it turn leads to less pollutants entering your body, allowing you a healthier life. Even better, it means all of this for your children. 


This recipe is the epitome of simple and comes from my friend Kim who now claims the east coast as her home. Whenever I make it I think of her - gotta love that soul food that comes with the food.

1 whole chicken [organic, pasture raised], thawed

4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion salt*
1 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt *

Mix all of the spices together [or put in covered container and shake well]. Rub over chicken, covering thoroughly. Place the chicken in a Crockpot. Sprinkle on any remaining seasoning. Add enough water to cover about a 1/4 - 1/2 inch of the bottom. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with mixed rice [brown, black, wild] and a side of steamed, frozen veggies.


This recipe is originally from my dad, adapted by both my mother, and then myself. This will make a lot of chili and can be frozen for later!

A note: Normally I advocate making dried beans from scratch [here's why] but in this case I am providing a recipe that can have either canned or homemade beans. In my opinion, it is better to get some legumes in the diet rather than none at all. Please purchase organic if possible.

2 tbsp olive oil
4 pint jars of medium salsa, homemade or organic if store bought*
2 [48-ounce] jars of mixed beans
1 [15-ounce] can of butter beans, drained
3 [15-ounce] cans of black beans
4 [15-ounce] cans of chili beans
1 [15-ounce] can of Great Northern beans
2 [15-ounce] can of kidney beans, light and / or dark

In crockpot, add all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours.

*You can also substitute the salsa with the following: 3 green peppers, 1 large sweet onion, 1 [15-ounce] can of diced tomatoes or whole stewed tomatoes, 2 [15-ounce] cans of tomatoes with green chilies.


I'm not sure where I acquired the original recipe for this soup but if it is yours, thank you [and please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due]!

Lightly saute the following:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped

Add the following and saute 1 minute more:
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt

Combine these remaining ingredients and the ones above in a crockpot:
6 c. cooked black beans [you can used canned or homemade here]
1 thumb size piece of kombu [optional]*
4 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 tsp. mirin or rice wine [optional]
1 tbsp. tamari

Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove 1/4 of soup and puree or blend just before serving. Mix in with the un-pureed soup.

Serve with 1/2 a sandwich or two slices of lightly toasted bread [I love this recipe but you can use store bought as well] dusted with a little salt, garlic granules, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

*What is kombu? Well, I'm so glad that you asked! Kombu is actually a seaweed but, trust me, there is nothing fishy about it. When added to a soup or any other dish that is simmered or slow cooked, it enhances the flavor and nutrients and generally dissolves into the soup during the cooking process. One note, if you are pregnant you should not eat kombu in excess as it reduces masses in the body [like tumors and cysts].


1 bag of gluten-free pasta of choice [I use the Tinkyada brand]
This Italian dressing recipe
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
Real salt sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and any additional herbs [to taste]

Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, make dressing according to recipe instructions. Combine all and heat until thoroughly warmed.

Serve with steamed organic frozen veggies of choice.

You could also make this a pesto pasta by swapping out the dressing for homemade or store bought pesto. You can use pine nuts in lieu of sunflower seeds but either taste great.


I snatched this recipe from my friend Diana right before I left Atlanta, GA and adapted it to fit my dietary needs. She found the original recipe in a magazine but, again, I don't know which one so thank you to it's creator! This soup can be made four ways, an easy option and a super easy option and with or without chicken. I'll note below.

For the easy option, saute the following in a cast iron skillet about 5 minutes:
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. sliced celery or 1 tbsp. celery seed
1 garlic clove, minced

Add to skillet and cook an additional minute:
1/3 c. gluten-free all purpose flour [appx. 1/8 c. each brown rice flour, tapioca flour or arrowroot, and potato starch]
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

Place vegetable mixture in Crockpot.

For the super easy option:
Combine all vegetables [noted above] in food processor and pulse until chopped. Add flour and spices to vegetables and pulse again until flour is incorporated. Put directly in Crockpot.

Continuing both options, add to vegetables [in Crockpot]:
6 c. chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 c. diced potato [with or without peels, per preference]
1 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1 whole chicken breast [optional]

Cook on low for 8 hours.

For easy option:
About an hour before dinner add 1 c. of non-dairy milk of choice and uncooked gluten-free pasta [optional - I like the Tinkyada brand]. Cook until noodles are soft.

For the super easy option:
Add 1 cup of non-dairy milk and 2 cups of cooked gluten-free pasta to Crockpot, warm for 5 minutes, and serve.

1 comment:

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