Here’s a quick and creamy sauce that I like to use on those semi-homemade pasta nights. I grab a pound of ravioli or tortellini, boil it up and we’re off to the races.
Creamy Pasta Sauce
4 oz prosciutto, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 tbs tomato paste
1/4 c heavy cream
1 c frozen peas, thawed
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1) Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add a few glugs of olive oil and the prosciutto and cook until crisp, 4 minutes.
2) Add in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant.
3) Ladle in about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and simmer until reduced by half, 3 minutes.
4) Add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 minutes.
5) Add the peas, cook for one minute then turn off the heat and fold in the cheese.
6) Toss with cooked pasta and eat. Nomnomnom.
This recipe comes via Sarah and her mom, Ria. It tastes like dessert. I want to say that up front because darn it, it’s a healthy treat and chock full of “super foods”, especially if you’re pregnant and want to get a little something in your belly as soon as you start your day.
It is also a very flexible recipe with lots of variation in quantity and ingredients. Because I know that makes some personality types (ahem, me me me) want to tear their hair out, I’ve written what I used with the variations noted parenthetically.
This is the first time I’ve used ground chia, and it purportedly is easier to get the omega 3 benefits in the ground form. Discuss. :)
In other news, I’m always running out of parchment paper. I used foil, the goal is to be able to lift the solid bar out of the pan for slicing, so this works just fine. Peel off the foil before you slice so you don’t end up with foil slivers.
(yield: one 9x13 pan)
2 c almonds
1/4 c ground chia seeds (1/4c-1/2c chia, flax or pumpkin seeds)
1/2 c dried dates (or prunes or raisins)
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c peanut butter (peanut, almond or sunflower butter)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 c honey
2 tsp vanilla extract (2-3 tsp)
1/3 bag bittersweet dark chocolate chips (1/4 bag was recommended but I couldn’t stretch it)
1) Place the almonds, chia, dates, coconut and peanut butter into a food processor and blitz for 20 seconds, until everything is good and crumbly (watch out for big almond chunks).
2) In a sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat (it melts at 76-77° so it may already be melted). Stir sea salt, honey, and vanilla into the liquid coconut oil.
3) Add the coconut oil mixture to the food processor and blend until the ingredients form a ball.
4) Cover a 9 1/2″ x 13″ cookie sheet in parchment paper and spread out this thick paste into a thin rectangular layer. Place it into the refrigerator for an hour to chill.
5) In a small saucepan melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously. Smooth melted chocolate thinly over the base; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens.
6) Remove from refrigerator, remove from pan, cut into bars, and serve cold.
Sarah recommends freezing them!
My worlds collide!
Cathlin Sentz - Newsboiler Network & Community Manager
You can find Cat in the US department of Hava Media. She works very hard to manage the moderators and admins of the various Hava Media sites and organises contests and prizes for site members.
Cat’s a pretty awesome gamer and she’s also really into horseback riding and F1. She’s also a fantastic cook, but she lives too far away for the rest of the team to take advantage of that talent!
cathlin (at) havamedia (dot) com
That’s what I’m calling this one, anyway! The first iteration came via Bell&Board (http://bellandboard.com/2013/02/vegetarian-lent-recipe-part-one/ )
The tarragon overpowered the dish and left a strong aftertaste. Throw in my ambivalence towards meatlessness and it was high time for a carnivorous hack. Also, it’s not a true Gribiche (no egg yolk emulsified).
The Toddler loves potatoes, eggs, sausage and broccoli so this is a big winner of a dish around here!
On roasting potatoes: the trick to a good roast is in the prep. Parboil the potatoes and after draining return them to the pot, bash the lid on, and shake shake shake. You want to rough them up - get them to a sort of fluffy on the edges stage. Then that fluff goes all crispy in the oven!
6 hard-boiled eggs
One small handful parsley, chopped
1 tbs capers, chopped
1/4 c red onion or shallots, chopped fine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 c ev olive oil
1) whisk the evoo, vinegar and mustard together.
2) stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste.
The Meat and Potatoes (and broccoli)
1 lb bulk Italian sausage (I like the hot Italian from the co-op)
3 heads broccoli, florets trimmed
1.5 lbs small potatoes (I like to buy a bunch of fingerlings or the bag with assorted colors) halved to bite size
Preheat oven to 400
1) parboil the potatoes. Drain well, pat dry, and toss with olive oil and a a generous pinch of salt. Spread out in a large roasting pan and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
2) parboil the broccoli. Drain well, pat dry, and toss with olive oil and a a generous pinch of salt. Toss into the roaster with the potatoes and return to the oven.
3) heat up a medium to large pan and add a dash of olive oil. Brown the sausage, breaking into bits.
4) when the potatoes have a nice crust pull out the roaster, toss in the sausage, and dress.
Hope you like! I keep it from getting too fussy and time-consuming by prepping the dressing while other things are on the boil.
Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to create a really tasty dish and cooking it in the oven means you get great depth of flavour. It’s a perfect meal for kids â don’t be worried about the wine as the alcohol cooks away.
This is my go-to Bolognese recipe from Jamie Oliver. I make it at the beginning of a week and then I have a quick go-to meal for any night - all I have to do is boil the noodles! I like a tagliatelle.
The recipe ingredients list is…well, I’m all on board with using good ingredients, I love to use good ingredients, but “6 rashers higher-welfare dry-cured smoked streaky bacon, sliced 1 cm thick” just makes me LOL. I managed to just buy a package of my favorite uncured bacon from the Co-Op without getting tied up in a tongue twister. Also, “500 g quality British beef mince” = buy 1lb ground beef.
For the sake of discussion, this recipe also calls for sun-dried tomatoes. Which I do not like. I know, I try to keep my “don’t like” foods list limited to Durian, but sun-dried tomatoes snuck on there. In a bolognese I give them a pass.
Zucchini, Onion and Prosciutto: Savory Bead Pudding
This is a savory bread pudding, or a strata, better known around here as the tasty dinner we had last night.
You could make this veggie by omitting the prosciutto and swapping out the chicken stock, but we just don’t roll that way.
On pepper: I did 12 grinds, feel free to start with 6 and taste.
Half a baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-slices
4 oz prosciutto, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 big red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
evoo (approx 1/3 c)
1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c shredded Gruyère cheese
1/3 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 Roma tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°.
1) Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until crisp and golden.
2) In a 10” cast iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the zucchini, onion, prosciutto and thyme, season with salt and plenty of pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until tender, about 8 minutes.
3) Add 1/4 c of the broth and all the heavy cream and simmer over moderate heat about 3 minutes.
4) Correct the seasoning and transfer half of the zucchini mixture to a bowl and reserve.
5) Spread the zucchini still in the skillet in an even layer and sprinkle with a small handful of the Gruyère and generous clump of the Parm then top with a layer of toasted baguette slices. Spread the reserved zucchini mixture over these toasts and repeat with the Gruyère and Parm. Arrange alternating slices of tomato and baguette on top. Sprinkle with the last of the cheese. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
6) Carefully pour the remaining 1/4 cup of broth around the edge of the skillet and over the top.
7) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a deep brown.
Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve!
We made playdough!! Okay, it isn’t a meal, but there’s a recipe and you *could* eat it - though even The Baby reviews that experience as, “Blech!”
When it was fresh off the stove I divided it up to make primary and secondary colors with food coloring. If you have older ones you could probably have them do the work of kneading in the color, if you’re prepared for stained hands. :) As a cooked version, this is supposed to last three months in an airtight container, and is smoother than uncooked versions.
3 c flour
1.5 c salt
6 tsp cream of tarter
3 tbsp oil
3 c water
Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms (will pull away from all sides). Knead in color.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating my cookie addiction, here’s a recipe for my all-time favorite cookie: Chocolate Chip. What makes this one special is that it is totally dairy and lactose-free, and it is awesome. The awesome part is maybe the special bit.
Ingredients note: I prefer Earth Balance “butter” and Enjoy Life mega chunk chips.
Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
(yield 2-3 dozen, depending on cookie size :) )
1 c dairy free butter/margarine
1 c brown sugar, firmly paked
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 rounded tsp kosher salt
10 oz dairy free chocolate chips
There are differing reports on whether eating things like brewers yeast, flax and oats can positively impact your milk supply, what they definitely don’t do is hurt your supply. Me, I have a cookie addiction, so this way I’m sneaking in so many Omega 3’s they’re like Omega 10’s. Popping one is a really easy, on the go afternoon snack, and you won’t catch me without one in my bag for the Sunday morning mid-Church munchies (yes, we’re still having mid-service nursing pit stops, I need to refuel!). If you are having supply problems you can get help from a lactation consultant, and one of the simplest things we overlook is whether we are eating and drinking enough. Even if you’re not having supply issues, this is a great way to sneak in a treat. :)
*Couple ingredient notes:
- Almond or Peanut butter, I’ve tried both and like them either way
- Oats: I use GF whole oats, just don’t use quick oats
- Butter: I use earth balance, because we are dairy-free, but you can use regular butter in the same quantity
- I use Enjoy Life Mega chunk chocolate chips (dairy free)
- You could add nuts if you like that sort of thing
BREWERS YEAST: Over the course of developing this recipe, I learned (the hard way) that if you are allergic to Penicillin (I am) you are also allergic to Brewers Yeast. So don’t eat it. :)
Super Mama Lactation Cookies
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 rounded tsp kosher salt
3/4 c almond peanut butter*
3/4 c butter*, softened
1 c flax
3 T brewer’s yeast
1/3 c water
1/3 c sugar
2/3 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
10 oz chocolate chips*
1 3/4 c oats*
Preheat oven to 350 F
1) Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
2) In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flax and water until creamy.
3) Gently add in eggs.
4) Gradually beat in flour mixture.
5) Add chocolate chips.
6) Gradually add oats.
Place spoonfuls of dough onto greased baking sheets pressing down with the back of the spoon to flatten a bit.
Bake 12 minutes.
With a sauce, meatballs and couscous at first glance this recipe looks like a hassle. In reality it really flows in the kitchen with sauce prep first, then meatballs while the sauce simmers and couscous once the meatballs join the sauce - and in little more than half an hour you have a hearty dinner! Many ingredients overlap, and provided you have the staples on hand already it’s a very affordable meal, too. Since it does call for wine it’s a good one to make when you’re planning on sharing the meal or you’re in the mood to polish off the rest of the bottle! It’s also dairy free.
North African Meatballs
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/3 c pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1/2 c red wine
1/4 c chicken stock or broth
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Pinch ground cinnamon
generous pinch of kosher salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1” piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch ground cinnamon
3/4 lb ground beef
1/3 c finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs
Pinch of salt and of freshly ground black pepper
few glugs vegetable oil
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Couscous with Dried Dates:
1 c water
1 c chicken stock
1 tbs olive oil
1/3 c chopped dates
1 c golden couscous
pinch of kosher salt and of freshly ground black pepper
1) In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and sweat the onions, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about thirty seconds)
2) Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Then add the wine and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
3) Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, salt and pepper and simmer on low while you make the meatballs.
4) In a medium bowl beat the egg and tomato paste until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix until well blended. Add in the ground beef and bread crumbs without over-mixing. Divide into 32 small meatballs.
5) In a large saute pan heat a few glugs of vegetable oil over medium heat and brown the meatballs in batches. Transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and let simmer for while you make the couscous.
6) Bring the water, stock, oil and salt and pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the dates and then the couscous. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and turn off the heat, setting a timer for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Divide the couscous among four plates, top with meatballs & sauce, sprinkle with fresh parsley then serve.
This post is one I’ve been meaning to write for some time now, and finally getting it out of the way will release a recipe log jam. Ready your knives!
On the table: dairy, lactose intolerance, sensitivity and allergy. Oh, and breastfeeding! First I want to clear up common misunderstandings about dairy problems, and as an added bonus help the nursing mamas bumping into dairy problems.
Lactose intolerance: My buddy since junior high, lactose intolerance means digestive symptoms. Rapid, intense, painful intestinal upset. It’s the result of insufficient lactase enzyme. How much or little lactase you have determines your body’s response to lactose. (If you are lactose intolerant I can’t recommend Digestive Advantage enough, it’s based on the principles that enable you to eat yogurt with live cultures http://www.digestiveadvantage.com/lactose_defense_formula.asp )
Dairy Sensitivity: this is what Baby Ellie has. As a precursor to a full blown allergy, you either “outgrow” a sensitivity or you push it into allergy hyperdrive. Because it is related to an allergy you see immune response. This is the critical distinction between intolerances, which cause intestinal upset, and allergies, which can have extremely serious reactions.
Sensitivities and allergies are the body’s immune response to a food’s protein. As an immune response you can see a rash (dairy rash in babies is like fine acne), in digestion (in babies green poop not explained by fore/hind milk imbalance, even blood in the stool), and the extreme and scary systemic anaphylactic shock. Trust me, lactose intolerance is no fun but an allergy it is not. Allergies are serious business, and so when I realized Baby Ellie was dairy sensitive I began the great dairy cleanse.
Cool thing about breast milk #2793: it is dairy free so long as you do not consume dairy. Go ahead and rewrite your brain: dairy=cow’s milk.* So if you discover that your baby may be dairy sensitive, they are not allergic to your breast milk, just the dairy protein that’s in there. The good news is that you can stop eating dairy and all will be well, the bad news is that it can take 2-3 weeks for all that dairy protein to be truly gone from your system. Going off dairy can be daunting, but it’s really not too hard - it’s just that as soon as you hear the word “no” all you can think is “cheese, ice cream, butter!” and the only foods you see are pizza and tres leches cake.
You may have noticed that most of my recipes from the past twelve months are dairy free, though I really hope you didn’t! I make a point to only post truly tasty recipes, and you will never find a “sad substitute” on here. At 12 months old, Baby Ellie is still dairy sensitive, and that means for the foreseeable future this will be a dairy free blog. I will also be making more of an effort to label things as “dairy free”, particularly when they are recipes I’ve made as stand-ins (never sad substitutes!) for typically dairy dishes.
Please don’t let dairy free scare you off - from breastfeeding or from this blog. I’m committed to only sharing truly good food with you, regardless of dietary limitations.
*Random fact #17**: eggs are not dairy. Some other things also sold in the “dairy” section of the grocery store are also not dairy.
**Random fact #18: when people get this wrong, it bothers me. Factually.
Confession: I’ve only begun making my own chicken stock in the last year. This is the recipe that I use as my starting point. I always end up with a larger, closer to 5 lb chicken, which means more water and a longer cook time. Truthfully, with Baby Ellie on the scene I’m not very good with on-the-dot cook times. One hour, one hour twenty minutes…in the end the chicken is cooked (and not dry!) and the stock is made. Delicious? Definitely.