Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘mushrooms’

A Warm Lunch at the Office

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows that I am NO fan of microwaves and have not (knowingly, although I realize it must happen to me some places!) eaten microwaved food in at least 10 plus years!

But when the weather starts to turn this can pose a problem for a girl who is looking for a little warmth at lunch time at the office and there is no way to heat anything up except the you know what!

So imagine my delight when I saw THIS idea!!

Please forgive me, I do like to give credit where credit is due but I do subscribe to a lot of food blogs and can’t always remember where I see what I see and regrettably I couldn’t find this again when I went back to look for the instructions.  So thank you idea giver.

So let’s call them Homemade Noodle Pots.

We’ve all had them.  Some are better than others.  But even the “organic” “healthy” versions are still pretty much weird dried stuff in a cup.

You know what I’m talking about.  Those instant lunch things that come in a cardboard, or worse, cup.  You peel back the lid, pour boiling water over it, cover it up again, let sit for a bit and voila.  A cup full of some kind of warm, usually desperately salty, noodle type stuff.

And they aren’t even that cheap, especially the higher end ones!

So why not just make your own DIY noodle pots?

You can put just about anything you’d like but best of all, you know exactly what’s in them!

And what’s great, on a Sunday afternoon, you can make up all of your ingredients, pack up your jars and have one for every day of the following week!  Imagine?  A whole week of not having to worry about what to bring for lunch??  Fantastic!

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Here is what you will need:

Heat safe jars, like Mason Jars 500 ml size x days of your week

Flavour base: I tried different combos for each day to change it up a little.

1 to 3 teaspoons of organic or quality soup stock base, miso paste or curry paste

More Flavour:

1 to 3 teaspoons of:  coconut milk, sesame oil, hot sauce or Sriracha, tamari or Bragg sauce etc

 

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Fillers:

Chicken, tofu, frozen vegetables, shredded cabbage, cooked lentils or beans, thinly sliced mushroom, kimchi, hardy greens, boiled egg, or whatever else you might find in the fridge!

Noodles:

Cooked Soba noodles, spaghetti, rice noodles, ramen.   I haven’t tried this yet, but maybe dried couscous?

Toppings:

Green onion, Cilantro, shredded carrot, a slice of lemon?

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Start with the flavour bases on the bottom of the jar, spread them around so they will dissolve evenly.

Then add in your filler items.

Then the noodles and pack it down nicely.

Then finally what ever fresh toppers you might be using. ( if you want these really fresh, perhaps store separately and top the noodles just before eating)

Put the lids on tight and refrigerate!

Each morning, grab one to go!

 

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When it’s time to eat, simply add some boiling water and replace the lid.

Let sit for a few minutes to let everything warm up.  Then maybe give the jar a little shake or a twirl before you open it or give them a good stir with your chopsticks to let the flavours mingle.

 

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You can enjoy it right out of the jar or dump it into an awaiting bowl and eat right away while it is warm.

 

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And there you have a nice warm, weird stuff free, bowl of niceness to get you through your afternoon!

 

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Kinda lasagna sorta

The worst part about moving of course, is trying to find anything!

All the best and most organized packing in the world can still result in a lot of things being “misplaced”.  That is what is so disruptive about moving and makes you feel so unsafe.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but they say moving is up there with the top 10 most stressful happenings in life……up there with divorce or deaths!!

And when you are packing, you tend to do crazy things that must seem a good idea at the time and perhaps even logical.  But on the unpacking end you often find your self asking “WHAT was I thinking there??”

So this past weekend was the first time the Chef and I have both had the whole weekend off together and been able really get a handle on the new place.  Most of the stuff has been unpacked for a bit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is in the right place.

I kid you not, we spent almost four hours arranging and rearranging the living room.        We purchased some new furniture that will be arriving in “two to four weeks” so it is even harder when you don’t even really know what things will look like.

We had already had a number of configurations that we had tried for a week or a few days at a time, but nothing felt right.   But I think we finally found one we can work with……until the furniture comes and then we have to start all over of course!

But we did manage to finally arrange the pantry.

It’s been hard to cook or eat because we didn’t know where anything was….or if you thought of a dish you might only have half the ingredients, but then only to discover in a different cupboard the other stuff you would need.  It’s been chaos!

So after a long day of “arranging” neither of us felt like going out to a store, nor did we really feel like cooking but…….you gotta eat right?

So this is what I came up with.

Baked cabbage with cheese and veg

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I present this as only a guideline of what you can do with a bunch of random stuff.  Please feel free to substitute or omit  as needed.

First I cooked up a pot of green lentils.  At first I thought I would make some sort of lentil dish fried up with onions and veg on rice etc.

But then I found a cabbage in the fridge.  When I say “found” you know what I mean, a recently purchased one, not one that came with the fridge!

And so I thought I’d really like to use that too.

There were also some nice Portobello mushrooms and some red peppers.

Hmmm….what next?

Okay.

So in a large skillet with a little oil add:

  • 1 -2 chopped onion
  • 1-2 cups sliced mushroom
  • 1 red, green, yellow or combo sliced pepper

Cook those down until nice and soft, feel free to add any herb or spice flavours that inspire you.

When these are cooked, toss them into a flat baking or lasagna style dish and spread them around.

Then add in the cooked lentils and mix them in well.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, add a little more oil then add finely sliced cabbage.  Sliced very thin like you are making coleslaw but don’t stuff the pan too much.

I used a whole small cabbage.  But cook it in batches so that it cooks down nicely and it is okay if it gets brown bits on it.  Adds flavour!!

As you finish each batch of cabbage, add it to the baking dish and continue to mix it in with the other vegetables.

Once you have done about half the cabbage, sprinkle with a layer of good melting cheese like mozzarella or other cheese you might use in a lasagna or pizza.

Once all the cabbage is added then add a tin of tomato  or prepared spaghetti sauce and thoroughly mix through everything.  I only had half of a tin on hand, but it really needed a whole one!

Once it is well mixed, layer with another layer of the melting cheese and then a bit of what ever other cheese you might have just as an accent.  I used some orange cheddar and some blue cheese.

Then bung it in the oven at 350 for about half hour ( it’s mostly all cooked just need to heat and melt cheese) and then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes till the cheese on top starts to brown a little.

There you have it!

Kinda lasagna sorta

Now I will admit, if I had to do it again, there would be a few things I would do differently.  Like make sure I had enough sauce.   And I would probably put some extra fried onions on top.  Or even better, those old school crispy onions that Grandmothers seem to like to put on green bean casseroles at the holidays!!

It would make a fine Vegetarian supper with a salad and some nice bread.  Or actually it would do fine as a side dish.

The point is, you can usually make something out of nothing when you have to!  Be creative!

We did end up getting to have some Thanksgiving Turkey dinner after all and it went very well, just missing a couple things…..like the gravy ladle.

It will show up….with the damn blue lampshade I can’t seem to find.

Stuffed Cabbage

I always try to do the more “labour intensive” dishes on a Sunday afternoon.  And now with the days being cooler and shorter I’ve been turning to the heartier things that I like to make.

This is one of my favorites.  I’ll admit it is “step heavy” but if you have the time, it is well worth it.

The recipe comes from Laura Caulder’s “French Food at Home” show and subsequent cookbook that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago.

As is usually the case, I tweaked it here and there for my own needs, but will direct you to Laura’s actual recipe so you have a fighting chance!

(Click HERE ) for Laura’s recipe.

 So start with boiling a big pot of water to blanch your cabbage in.  While that is coming to a boil, set out a good size cutting board or work surface and cover it with a clean dish towel and then cover that with about the same size as the towel of cheese cloth.   And then have about a foot long of butcher to cooking cord ready.   This will help when you are in the thick of it.      

Lay out cheese cloth

Cut the core out of the cabbage and gently pull the leaves off one by one and place them a few at a time in the boiling water and poke them under water with a spoon or something.  They really only need to be in for a few minutes till they are pliable.    Then take them out and put them in a bowl of really cold or iced water to stop the cooking.   Repeat till most of the cabbage is done except for the very middle, yellow looking part of the cabbage.  That will be chopped up and added to the filling as per the recipe.

Blanched cabbage

Then lay your cabbage leave out on another clean dish towel to dry off a bit while you make the filling.   Make the filling as per the recipe.  I have made it before without the bread if you are looking for a gluten-free option and it worked just fine.  

Cabbage filling

Once your filling is ready, you can start assembly.

Cabbage, filling, cabbage filling etc till you have used up your materials.

Start with largest leaves on bottom

Try and taper in as you stack the leaves

Then wrap er up real tight in the cheese cloth, that helps it keep a nice shape when you serve it.

Wrap it up good and tight

Laura says to put it in a wire basket or stand or whatever inside the pot, I didn’t.  Only because I didn’t like the idea of stuff leaching into the water.  So I just put it directly into the pot with liquid about half way up the side.  I used half chicken stock and half plain water.

Fill liquid to half way up

THEN, about half way through cooking, I added a little something extra.  I added some chopped cremini mushrooms and some quartered new potatoes.   As you will see this adds a complete meal feel to it.        

Take the cabbage package out when done and let it set awhile in a bowl.  Juice will run out of it so you don’t want it on the counter or just a plate.

Then as the recipe says, cook the liquid down a bit to concentrate the flavours and in my case make sure the mushrooms and potatoes are cooked.  I also added a couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce for good measure.

Once the cabbage has rested a while, put it on a cutting board, being sure to pour any escaped juice back into the soup pot!   Then cut off the cheese cloth and you should have a nice looking cabbage.

Stuffed cabbage

 

Cut it in half first and then in our case, each half in half, to make four servings.

Quarter cabbage

 Place the quarter in a bowl and then add some broth around it with the potato and mushroom and you have a DELIGHTFULLY warming hearty supper!

Stuffed cabbage with steamed new potato

It is worth every bit of effort!        

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Squash Soup

Here’s another quick easy soup recipe.

We had some left over squash kicking around that the Chef had been using to make ravioli filling.

So I pulled out the dutch oven, heated her up and added a few sloshes of olive oil.  Then added:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stocks diced

Cook these together till they are sweaty or even a little browning.  Then add:

  • the left over squash

Then add some herbs and spices if you wish.   I used….wait for it……pumpkin spice!!  It is very appropriate for Fall!   I also added a little cumin and some chili flakes to liven it up.   And some salt and pepper of course.

Then add some stock of your choice or water will do fine too.

Let this all simmer for a bit till the vegetables are nice and tender, then turn off the heat.  Let it cool a little, at least enough till it isn’t bubbling or anything.

Then take the hand blender to it.   Blend until nice and smooth.

At this point you could eat it now if you like but as is my way, I like to hide as many vegetables as possible in soup!  So I added some chopped kale and a few chopped mushrooms.

Turn the heat back on and heat back up until the kale and mushrooms are heated.

Then you are ready to go!

Squash soup

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