Working Smart, not Hard with Simplot Good Grains!

may or may not have mentioned that my husband and I cook the Fellowship Meal for a large church every Wednesday night. We have a lot of diners who are watching their weight and/or trying to eat more healthfully. Because of this, we try to offer things that they can eat and not feel guilty about.

I may or may not have mentioned that my husband and I cook the Fellowship Meal for a large church every Wednesday night. We have a lot of diners who are watching their weight and/or trying to eat more healthfully. Because of this, we try to offer things that they can eat and not feel guilty about.

LAST week, we made the tortellini dish that destroyed everyone’s Weight Watcher’s points!  Naturally last night, I wanted to make up for that. Ordinarily this would have involved buying fresh vegetables and a lot of preparation chopping, cooking, serving, etc. However, for the past six weeks, I have been working full time filling in for one of my office mates and catering a number of events, so I opted for a healthy and easy side dish! Operative word: easy.

Enter this stuff:

Ancient Grains & Kale blend

Charlie and I bought a bag of Simplot Good Grains Ancient Grains & Kale Blend a couple of weeks ago thinking we’d see how we like it before introducing it to the church. One of the dishes we make at least one a week are tuna bowls. Usually that starts with a base of either quinoa or couscous. I am not a huge fan of plain quinoa, so if I’m going to eat it, it usually involves my having to saute a lot of things to add into it. Some nights I just don’t feel like doing all of that so these grains were worth trying. We like them very much and find them very versatile! There are only two of us, so one bag of this stuff keeps perfectly in the freezer and we can get about 5 meals for two out of it.

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This is one of our tuna bowl suppers.  Now we sub the couscous base for the Ancient Grains & Kale Blend.  YUMMY!

Which brings me to last night at church. We bought two cases of the Exotic Grains and Fire Roasted Vegetables Blend and then added freshly sauteed chopped onions, red and yellow peppers and a very  large bag of spinach. There are so many roasted vegetables already present in this mixture, that it’s not really necessary to add anything. I just wanted to add my own flair to it. I also happened to have a huge bag of spinach and another bag of chopped onions to get rid of! (Truth) After this, I added soy sauce, one of my favorite seasonings; Lawry’s Seasoned Salt; fresh cracked pepper and a lot of garlic Italian seasoning to taste.

Simplot Good Grains

As I was making this dish last night, my mind was conjuring up all sorts of other dishes that could be made utilizing these wonderful grains. I think they would be awesome to add to salads, wraps, burritos, quesadilla’s and even soups. If you like stuffing vegetables like mushrooms, acorn squash, zucchini or even tomatoes (yes, I know tomatoes are fruits), this brand makes other grain mixtures that would lend well this!

Just the word, “Stuffing” makes me think of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving makes me think of sage and sage makes me think of sage dressing and that makes me think that roasted butternut squash, cranberries and/or apples could be added to any one of the Good Grains Blends for a delicious Thanksgiving side dish! The possibilities are endless!

In fact, I just thought of another way to make this, Asian fried rice style! Follow all of the directions for making fried rice but sub in whatever Good Grains Blend you like the best! Happy experimenting!


Since last night I was cooking for a huge crowd and seasoning as I go, and since I highly doubt you want a recipe for 100+ people, I will simply tell you to go out and get yourself a bag or two. Heat it up, taste it plain (it’s great) and then start adding whatever it is that makes your palate happy!

PS-some more images:

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Lemon Cilantro Baked Cod Fillets

I have always been that person who thought cilantro tastes like soap. That is, until I started living with my husband, who is a fanatic over the stuff…

I have always been that person who thinks cilantro tastes like soap. That is, until I started living with my husband, who is a fanatic over the stuff. At any given moment during the year, we have not one, but two bunches sitting in water on our counter; so over the summer I decided to give in and start using the stuff and now I am hooked.

I adapted this recipe from something similar that called for parsley instead of cilantro. I imagine it would also be great with fresh chopped basil or even rosemary.

I love this recipe because it’s unexpectedly creamy and it smells incredible! Prep time is just a few minutes and you can assemble this dish ahead of time if you need to- just pop it in the fridge until you are ready to bake.

Start off with with cod fillets. We buy ours frozen from Trader Joe’s. Once it’s thawed, be sure to pat it dry on both sides so the melted butter will adhere to it.

Next melt about 4 Tbsp real butter (none of that no fat, low fat, fake butter crap! Use the real stuff!) We buy Amish butter. You can’t beat the freshness.

Now for the dredging stations: 1) This is about 3/4 cup of flour, mixed with a generous amount of smoky paprika, salt and pepper and one of my favorite spice blends: Essence of Emeril.

2) Next, I zested one very large lemon and squeezed its juice (about 3 Tbsp, I said it was large!). For fun, I also zested a Meir Lemon. Then add about 1/4th cup chopped fresh cilantro. When your butter has melted, add it here.

Here it is with the melted butter.

Dredge each piece of cod, both sides in the butter/ cilantro mixture and then the flour. The original recipe called for dredging only one side but I always do both. I suppose you could leave out the flour entirely, but the dish will not turn out as creamy. (It will, however, still be delicious!)

Spray your baking dish with coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand-or leave it out. I forgot this step tonight. It made no difference.), then lay out your fish. Pour the remaining butter/cilantro mixture over the fish. Here, I usually toss in a little more cilantro and sprinkle a little more paprika.

PS: This stuff? It’s your friend when you don’t feel like chopping. Find it at the grocery where you buy fresh spices.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until flakey.

We made roasted butternut squash, zucchini and baby Roma tomatoes as our sides. These just go in at 400 degrees coated in olive oil, salt and pepper. All on one sheet pan. I make then before I bake the fish, the cover with foil and let them rest.

Fresh out of the oven.

The thought occurs to me that I could have mixed the tomatoes in with the squash. I like to keep the zucchini whole, however. It’s a texture thing for me.


INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tbsp smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

4 cod fillets (6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Zest of 1-2 lemons

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°. In a shallow bowl, mix lemon juice, cilantro and butter. In a separate shallow bowl, mix flour and seasonings. Dip fillets in lemon juice mixture, then in flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess.

Place in a 13×9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with remaining lemon juice, cilantro, butter mixture. Sprinkle on a little more paprika & lemon pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork. Garnish with more fresh cilantro & lemon zest.

Caramelized Onions in the Crock Pot?

When I was growing up, my Mom never made onions or peppers so I never knew they existed. Each time I’d encounter a menu that included them, I was certain to pass them. I didn’t like the look. I didn’t know the taste.

When I was growing up, my Mom never made onions or peppers so I never knew they existed. Each time I’d encounter a menu that included them, I was certain to pass them. I didn’t like the look. I didn’t know the taste.

Until my husband, Charlie introduced me to them. He first started putting them in omlets and we later graduated to fajitas and now I put them on just about anything I decide needs another flavor profile.

Imagine my shock to discover you can actually make caramelized onions in the crock pot, overnight? Granted, I do not think they are as good as the kind you labor over in a cast iron skillet, but they certainly work in a pinch (OR when you need a ton of them!)

See how easy below:

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Lately when I make them, I crank the crockie up to high over night and I add just a TBSP of brown sugar. In the morning, carefully remove the lid and stir. Sometimes I add a little more butter as well.

These will keep for two weeks in the fridge. We make a giant batch and use them for fajitas, salads, sammies…anything that needs a kick.

No recipe to post, actually. Just slice up enough onions to fill your crock pot, add a few pats of REAL butter, salt and pepper and about a TBSP of brown sugar and there you go!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Okay I have had a day to feel better about all of the hatred I observed on my Facebook feed Sunday, so I will go back to my original idea of posting about one of my favorite fall soup recipes: Roasted Butternut Squash soup. I can’t think of anything that is easier, more delicious, festive and comforting than this soup.

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Okay I have had a day to feel better about all of the hatred I observed on my Facebook feed Sunday, so I will go back to my original idea of posting about one of my favorite fall soup recipes: Roasted Butternut Squash soup. I can’t think of anything that is easier, more delicious, festive and comforting than this soup.

I was inspired to make it after having spent the weekend reflecting on my favorite things about Fall for another blog I participate in.

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 Veggie’s all cut up, drizzled in Olive oil and tossed in salt & pepper. Easy Peezy.

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After sauteing the onion, I added my stock and other seasonings.

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When the vegetable are ready, I add them to the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.

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Add the cream, stir and taste. Here is where you might add additional seasoning.

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Puree using an immersion blender, a regular blender or a food processor. Return to pot, I topped with smoky paprika for color, but you could use anything you like-even chopped herbs.


Bobbe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

1 largish butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks

4-5 medium carrots peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium onion chopped

(1) 32oz box of vegetable stock

(1) 15 oz can of chicken stock

¾ c. cream (you can sub Half & Half or leave it out if you don’t do dairy)

3-4 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP Smoked Paprika

1 TBSP cumin

1 TBSP hot sauce (optional) We like Sriracha.

S & P to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400

Assemble carrots and squash on a sheet tray, drizzle with olive oil, S&P

Roast 30-40 minutes or until you see they are browning just a bit.

Meanwhile saute your onions until translucent in a Dutch oven (I use 1-2 TBSP real butter but you can do it in olive oil too) Remember to salt & pepper your onions.

Add stocks and seasonings to onions. Simmer on low while waiting for veggies to roast.

Add Roasted vegetables to the pot

Add cream & stir.

Lastly, puree the soup using an immersion blender. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree using a blender or your food processor.

We like to serve this topped with sour cream, chives, bacon, hot sauce, even shavings of Parmesan cheese; whatever you really like will work, even garlic croutons!