Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Cookin'

I think sharing about good food should be a mandatory public service. When you find something really special, it should be shared with others, right? That being said, consider this a public service announcement :)

I am generally not into cookbooks. I think they're beautiful, but they're also expensive, and I usually don't end up trying enough of the recipes in the book to make it feel worth the cost. However, there is one cookbook to which I find myself going back repeatedly -- and I'm really chuffed about it! (Does that give you a hint as to what it is?) Jamie's Food Revolution. The premise is how to cook simple, delicious, affordable meals. And I should add fresh and healthy (keeping in mind that "healthy" is relative). I won't go into describing Jamie's mission in the U.S., but if you don't know much about him, it's worth looking into.

I wouldn't say that all the recipes are outstanding (then why am I recommending it?) but, rather, when I sit down at the table to eat with my hubby and the quickly growing children, whatever the meal may be lacking in taste, it makes up for in nutritive value. I guess what I'm saying is -- it's not about me anymore. Hands down, every time I serve a dish with msg in it (things made with cream of this or that) Johnnie always thinks it's amazing. Then I frown and say "yep, it's the msg." Don't get me wrong, I think things like that are fine in moderation (donuts are my favorite food and I'm a white sugar/white flour baking queen!) but day to day, I want to serve my family -- my children -- fresh, healthy foods that are going to contribute to good health. So, with that, I have some recommendations (because cookbooks can be so overwhelming!)

Recipe: My Sweet and Sour Pork
This was the first recipe I tried and it remains a favorite! Pork tenderloin in Chinese five-spice powder, red and yellow peppers, fresh ginger (trust me), red onion, heat {optional}, pineapple chunks, serve with basmati rice piled high on butterhead lettuce. Delicious! If you like cilantro, it adds even more freshness!

Recipe: Evolution Tomato Salad
Tomatoes with olive oil and red wine vinegar - delicious. Add salt and pepper. Add black olives if you like. Add a can of cannellini beans. Add a small can of tuna. Simple and healthy lunch!

The chopped salads are amazing and fun!

Recipe: Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake
Simple and comforting without msg :)

Recipe: A Cracking Burger
A delicious, homemade burger! The cream crackers the original edition calls for are made with lard and not the most healthy choice, but they do make for a delicious texture. The newer book I have calls for unsalted saltines.

Recipe: Chili Con Carne (the recipe that spurred this post)
Hearty and tasty. I was worried about the addition of cinnamon, but it turned out well. Gave it an exotic taste. It felt so good to watch the kids chow down on chickpeas, ground beef from a local farm, carrots, onions, peppers, celery, etc.! Served with basmati; leftovers go on top of baked potatoes.

Recipe: Perfect Roast Chicken
It's been a while since I made this so I don't remember much about it aside from the fact that it was pretty darn perfect.

Recipe: Salmon Baked in a Foil Parcel with Green Beans and Pesto
This was good, but not a favorite. I think that's partly because I grew up on salty canned green beans, still transitioning into liking the fresh stuff. But, again, I feel like eating it because I know it's good for me :) Should add that the salmon took at least 40 minutes to cook (the recipe states 20).

Recipe: Tropical Yogurt
Ripe bananas, unsweetened shredded coconut (let sit overnight in yogurt to soften) and natural unsweetened yogurt. Delicious on our whole wheat buttermilk pancakes with just the slightest drizzle of real maple syrup!

Wow, that was a lot! I'll keep you posted as I explore more recipes. I hope someone out there finds this helpful!