Turkey and Rice Casserole

 It’s been far too long since I have added any recipes to my blog and since my last post was about menu planning I thought I would share a recipe from our menu.  This is a favorite recipe in our house because the kids love it.  It is creamy, yummy, healthy and simple to make.

Turkey and Rice Casserole 

1 cup of dry rice that has been cooked (we like short grain brown rice for this recipe)

1 lb ground turkey browned

 For Sauce

2 ½ cups chicken broth

1/8 tsp thyme

¼ tsp oregano

1/8 tsp marjoram

1-1  ½ tsp salt (or to taste)

½ cup milk (we use unsweetened almond milk) or half and half and ¼ cup flour combined or use 2 tbsp. cornstarch if you are making it gluten free.

Heat chicken broth with seasonings and then add flour (or cornstarch) and milk mixture.  Cook until sauce is thickened.  Combine sauce with cooked turkey and rice.  Pour into 9×13 inch casserole dish (spray with cooking spray) and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Menu Planning

Menu planning, I used to cringe at the thought of it.  At that time I was making weekly menus and then shopping weekly.  Since I started orderly food monthly through the coop Azure Standard   it made sense to start doing monthly menus.  Menus are very important for us to be able to keep a steady food budget and eat healthy.  I thought I would share my menus and how my current system makes menu planning super easy.

So here are my menus for April and May.  If you click on the arrow you can see the May Menu.  As you can see on my monthly menu I don’t usually include side dishes for the main meals.  With breakfasts we usually have fruit, with lunch we have a fruit and vegetable, and for dinner we have a grain, vegetables/salads with our main dish.  I am also very flexible with our menu and tweak days during the week if needed, taking into account our activities for the week.  We always do breakfast for dinner on Sunday and I make whatever I feel inspired to make.  I don’t list breakfast or lunch on Saturday and Sunday because we usually have leftovers at those meals.  All the meals on this menu I have adapted for our gluten free casein free diet.

My reason for this post was to share about why I like having my menu in the Google calendar format.  Since I have a gmail account I have the items on my calendar for BF (breakfast), L (lunch), and S (supper), set up so that I get an email each evening with what is on menu for the next day so I can prep accordingly the night before.  You can also see that the menu for the month is mostly a two week rotation so when I enter an item in I just set it to repeat.  So then the next month it is all there for me and I can add or rearrange things a little to make my new monthly menu. Now I don’t have to dread menu planning because it is easy peasy 🙂

White Bean and Kale Minestrone

I was thinking recently how I used to post recipes on my blog and I miss doing that. So I have decided I am going to start posting some of favorite recipes again.

My first recipe is from the book Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it. This recipe along with a video is on their website Cookus Interruptus. They have some great recipes on this website and their videos are fun. This stuff is super delicious and quite simple to make. To make the meal complete we serve it over brown rice and add a salad. Notes on changes to the recipe, we use grated parmesan cheese instead of the pecorino cheese and I use about a 1 1/2 tsp of rubbed sage instead of the fresh sage leaves. I prepare quite a few meatless meals in our house and this is one of our family favorites, with the exception of Jude who has had an aversion to anything green since birth but that could be a whole another blog post 😉


Zane after filling his belly

Pancake Recipes

I keep telling Erin that I will post a couple of pancake recipes that I started using the past few months so here they are.

Rice Pancakes From Hillbillyhousewife.com

1-1/2 cups leftover Cooked Rice, white or brown
2 cups buttermilk or yogurt or soy yogurt or Sour Soy
2 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each (I also like to use Spelt Flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

Use a fork or a potato masher to mash the rice for a minute or two (I put a little buttermilk or yogurt in during mashing it makes it easier). After the rice has been mashed a little, then add the rest of the ingredients. Use a whisk to stir everything up until it makes a light and creamy batter. If you use yogurt as your milk product, the batter may be very thick, depending on the thickness of your yogurt. Sometimes, I add water to the batter to thin it out enough for frying (You will definitely need to add water I think I usually end up adding about 3/4 cup).

Fry these in a hot skillet or griddle, turning them when they are brown on the bottom. I use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake to keep them small, and manageable. They are so tender, that frying big ones is a little tricky, so keep them smallish to be on the safe side.

These are very tender and delicious pancakes. This makes a large amount of pancakes so unless you want left overs you may want to divide the recipe in half. My kids love these pancakes I think maybe they are their favorite and you can use healthy brown rice. Top with butter and real maple syrup and add fruit if you like, super yummy!

Fluffy Cottage Cheese Pancakes

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup flour (I use wheat or spelt flour)
3-4 tablespoons sugar (I use rapadura or sucanat)

In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, flour, and sugar together with a fork. It will look very strange at this point unlike other pancake batters but this is normal. Drop from tablespoon and cook on heated griddle, I cook them in coconut oil but you could use butter too. This recipe will make around 16 small pancakes. These are super yummy and since you put sugar in the batter no syrup necessary which makes them easy to pick up and eat on the go. They are really easy to make, very tasty, high in protein, and my kids love them.

Lets talk more about food

I love to eat and I love to cook so I will share with you my latest reads about food. The first is The Real Food Revival. This was a very excellent book and it will definitely make you think about the foods you are eating and what to look for when shopping to get the best food you can. I would highly recommend this book. I also read Nourishing Traditions. I also think this is an excellent book that teaches about traditional foods and how you can incorporate these healthful foods into your diet. If you want to read more about traditional foods take a look here at The Weston Price Foundation. One of the newer ideas that I have done from this book is sprouting my beans before cooking (I did this with both kidney beans and lentils) and I did notice a huge difference in my body being able to digest the beans without any unpleasant side effects. You can read more about bean sprouting here. FYI I just used a mason jar and when I rinsed them I used used a strainer to drain off the water. I had no problem getting sprouts very quickly.

Here’s a fun blog I came across a few weeks back. I love the idea of cooking in the crockpot but so many meals I have made in the crockpot have not impressed me. I like her blog because she gives you her verdict if you should try it or not. I made the Honey and Orange Tofu tonight and would highly recommend this, the kids ate this well too. I definitely agree with her about browning the tofu before putting it in the crockpot. Last week I made the Crunchy Roasted Garbanzo Beans. Amy and Elizabeth who came to knit with me last Wednesday weighed in on these and here were some seasoning suggestions beside the seasonings she recommends: Ranch Dip Mix, lime instead of lemon, taco seasoning, really there are lots of yummy combos for these. I would not recommend cooking these longer than 9 hours as a few of them were really hard and I cooked them 9 1/2 hours. Up for tomorrow night is Cream Cheese Chicken. Take a look around the blog and enjoy.

Cooking with the Kitchen Muse

I really like to try to add new meals to our menu and so I decided I would give the sample menu from the Kitchen Muse a try. It is the summer menu (I noticed that they changed the menu since I did mine). Jason would not care if I cooked the same thing all the time but he is also really great about trying new things. This was quite an adventurous menu for me and the family and it came through with some wonderful new recipes. This is a great time of year to start getting local seasonal veggies, we even got in a trip the farmers market last weekend.

New things I did in the past week. I was much better about prepping fruits and chopping veggies days in advance so that the recipes would not take as much prep time. I am going to try to continue this. While doing this menu I also was reading Nourishing Traditions so I will also take some of what I learned in this book and use it in future meal planning.

Beef Fajitas served with salsa, sour cream, and avacados
These were very good. Jude opted just to eat a tortilla with sour cream, which is normal for him. Annika ate a plate full of the green and red peppers some onion and sour cream, which is usual for her.

Asparagus Soup topped with crab, sour cream, and chives
The recipe called for this to be served cold. I guess I do not like cold soup because I was not enjoying it cold. I heated it and it was delicious. Jason agreed with me about it being good heated. I’m not sure if the kids would have eaten it warmed after one bite of it cold neither of them would try more.

Chicken with Lemon and Olives served over Brown Basmati Rice with Sauteed Zuchinni and Romaine Salad
This was very yummy, maybe my favorite of the recipes I tried. Jude ate this well, Annika not so much but she not much of a meat eater.

Simple Paella served with Romaine Salad
This was also very yummy. The kids were not in the mood for trying something new that night as neither one of them even took one bite. I think Annika would have liked it, Jude on the other hand probably not.

Grilled Portobello served with Barley and some yummy local Spinach
This was just okay for me. I wouldn’t make it again, Jason agreed.

Wild Rice and Shrimp Salad
I really liked this, Jason thought it was just okay. Annika liked it and Jude not so much.

Fluffy Quinoa Eggs with Strawberries
These were so yummy. Jason, Annika and one of my daycare kids ate these and liked them.

Dutch Crepes with Grapes
These were also very yummy. This was my first attempt at Crepes and they were good.

So my conclusion is that this was a nice menu and I will use some of these recipes in rotation with some of my current ones. I did sign up for a one month subscription but I will spread out the menu over a longer period of time. I do really like that she gives you a shopping list for the menu and then you can just add and subtract items to it, making a list usually is a time consuming process.

A day in Cooking and Baking

Here is my day of cooking and baking yesterday.

Breakfast. Oatmeal and strawberry yogurt smoothies. For the smoothies I put in a few spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt, some milk, some unsweetened frozen strawberries, and some raw honey and put it in the blender. My favorite way to make oatmeal to make it extra creamy is 1 cup of whole oats and 2 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil with a bit of salt. Then turn to medium heat and cook stirring frequently for five minutes. Turn off the heat put in 1 Tbs of butter put a lid on it and let it sit for five minutes. Then its ready for dried fruit a little maple syrup and milk. It makes some really creamy oatmeal.

I made Wheat Bread and served the wheat bread with provolone and turkey slices for lunch. We also had broccoli and baby carrots with ranch, and apples slices. I can always win with the broccoli and carrots because Annika and my nephew love the broccoli and another boy in my daycare loves carrots. Of course my Jude won’t eat any of the fruits or veggies I serve.
Yummy Bread

I found this granola recipe which has a basic recipe with lots of variations. I put raisins and cranberries in mine with pepitas. We had the granola with vanilla yogurt at snack time. All the kids ate it up except Jude apparently he doesn’t like pepitas.

I made these Refried Beans and served them with sour cream, salsa, and cheese, and these Flour Tortillas . We also had a simple salad of butter lettuce and carrots. These refried beans were awesome and my tortillas were pretty good since it was my first attempt at tortillas.