Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Greek Beef Orzo

I love this dish. Simple and easy to prepare, it scales nicely to serve a crowd or a couple.
Serve it with a fresh tossed salad and enjoy the simplicity of a one skillet meal.

Half teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
One medium onion, diced
A half dozen ripe tomatoes, diced with their juice
1 tsp dried oregano, or a handful chopped fresh
1 tsp black pepper
4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1.5 cups beef broth
1 cup Orzo pasta (or any pasta -- use rice pasta for a gluten-free variety)
1 cup chopped spinach

Sprinkle salt into a large skillet. Add ground beef and brown on medium high for 3-5 minutes.
Add onion and cook until soft, removing excess grease.
Add tomatoes, garlic, pepper, oregano and broth and bring to a boil.
Add Orzo and cook at a simmer until done, about 12 minutes.
Fold in chopped spinach until warmed and serve.

Breakfast Oatmeal

Heartwarming and heart healthy, oatmeal is a great way to start your day. A staple in any pantry, we use the microwave to keep the prep time simple and the portions perfect for each of us, from Goldilocks to Baby Bear. We like old fashioned rolled oats for their hearty taste and texture. Also, using the microwave for these gives us a no-excuses approach to making certain we don't skip the most important meal of the day.

I've written the recipe for apples and spice, a staple around our house since we have fresh apples available for the better part of the year, and spicy apple goodness is the epitome of back-to-school. But feel free to get creative. Add pretty much anything you have on hand to make it a truly remarkable morning. Blueberries, bananas, almonds, a dollop of yogurt, raspberries, hazelnuts, peaches; whatever is in season is exactly what you want.

From athletes to academics, this is the most efficient and economical way I can think of to ensure your success. This along with sunscreen and regular exercise could probably save the world. Or at least make us happier in the process.

Ingredients (per person)
1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (certified gluten-free variety is made by Bob's Red Mill and are quite tasty indeed)
1 cup water

A solid dash of apple pie spice, diced apples goes right into the dried oats nicely.

Place the oats and in a microwave safe dish, at least 16 ounces in capacity to prevent it from boiling over.

Microwave for 4 minutes (more or less, depending on preference and microwave power. We like our oats middling-to-firm, and have a reasonably powerful microwave, but not the super-duper mega-powered one).

Stir and add sugar, milk, honey or anything else that waits to the end.

Easiest Butternut Squash Ever

There is something so comforting about butternut squash's creamy, sunshiny flavor that it seems to reassure us that, no matter how topsy-turvy the world might be at the moment, all will be well enough. Squash is just too darned good for you and inexpensive to pass up, and this method can be used with any variety, though delicata and butternut are my personal favorite.

Eat it as often as you can get your hands on it: super nutritious, inexpensive, and easy to store, this is a dream come true for everyone from the happy hermit homesteader to the bustling family breakfast brigade. Add to that list that it is low in calories, gluten-free and even paleo, and you have a winner across the board. Feeling industrious? Plant a few squash seeds in your garden; a single plant can produce a wealth of golden globes on their sprawling vines.

This squash recipe is so simple, it's not a recipe so much as it is a method:

Take your squash, wash it and pierce it a couple times with a fork. Wrap it, whole, in foil. Place it in a slow cooker for 8 hours on low. No liquid or water needed.

No, really, that's all there is to it. When it's done, unwrap it (carefully!! This will be hot.) Place it on a cutting board and cut in half lengthwise to reveal two long boats of golden flesh. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Add a dash of salt and a pat of butter, and you have some of the best food nature knows how to grow.

Storing Vegetables without Plastic