Sunday, September 30, 2007

Recipes with a twist





Over the years, my love for cooking has went from cooking 'all things terrible' to trying to turn that same passion into being creative and healthy in what I'm cooking.

There was a time, as in two summers ago, that our breakfast looked liked this. We went on vacation with some friends of ours. One morning while on this vacation, it was our turn to cook breakfast so here is how the breakfast went down.
Step one, fry a whole package of bacon in an electric skillet.

Step two, pour half of the good ole' bacon grease in a jar to save.

Step three, fry pancakes in the remaining bacon grease that is left in the skillet.

Step four, pour bacon grease that was in the jar back into the skillet to fry our eggs in.

Now, if that doesn't give you a bad case of IBS just reading that I don't know what will. Notice how all four steps involved bacon grease.

Our friends were in shock. They were even more in shock to find that this breakfast was a regular occurrence in the Kramer home. There were lots of things fried in bacon grease in our home. Along with many recipes that included processed foods, fatty foods, foods containing lots of sugars, and the list goes on and on downhill.

If it were awful, you can guarantee that we ate it. Velveeta was a staple food in our home. I took pride in seeing how many ways I could incorporate this fake nastiness into my recipes. Really, what IS Velveeta anyways?

When we got home from our vacation, we were convicted to the core about what our eating habits had turned into. We were living to eat and not eating to live. And we WERE NOT treating our bodies the way we knew the Lord was calling us too.

We were so unhealthy that it was affecting a lot of things in our lives. During this time, Jason also had the cholesterol of a 70 year old man and I had the hormones of a 70 year old woman. Our food was affecting every thing within our bodies.

Before you think that I have this diet down pat and it is a breeze let me just say this. For me, food is an idol the Lord has clearly shown me that I, well......IDOLIZE. It doesn't help that a hobby of mine is cooking and recipe searching. My television use to stay on the Food Network all day. I know, this is really bad. But, for real, I thoroughly enjoy cooking just like someone would enjoy playing a guitar, or knitting, or collecting postcards. You get the drift.

Food is a source of comfort for me. It makes me feel good. I get all giddy when I know I'm about to consume something insanely good and unhealthy at that. It's just so wrong.

Jason has been so patient with me and encouraging while I work through all of this by the grace and power of the Lord. It hasn't been as easy for me as it has for him. I still struggle. But, the motivation to honor my husband's wishes to cook healthy nutritious meals and also the command to honor our bodies has kept me hopeful.

Jason is definitely the more knowledgeable one when it comes to why we do what we do. If I can ever get him off that tractor, I will have him sit down and write it all down in detail. My brain has problems processing details so for now, you get the 'Lynsey's Notes'.

I was able to take his research and turn it into real live recipes.

For the most part, our diet consists of fruits, vegetables, meats, & whole grains. If it isn't in its natural state, we don't eat it. This means we have eliminated everything that is processed, homogenized, pasteurized, chemically altered, has sugar added (high fructose corn syrup), or whatever the case may be. We also try and eat grass-fed grass-finished meats & free-range eggs, thus the vision of Yonder Way Farm.

Also, if it is an option with certain products, we try and buy organic like in the instance of tomato sauces or chicken broth or frozen veggies. We do have a garden and try to incorporate what is in season in our recipes.

To simplify things, we just stick to the basic rule of 'is it in its natural state?' Unless we are fellow shipping with friends or it is out of our control or I digress and give into to temptation. The last one mentioned is no fun. I think it is at the time, but it is just a lie of the devil.

A lot of people have asked what actual recipes look like so I thought I would post a few. You won't see any fish recipes mainly because I don't like fish and we don't trust where the fish is coming from. But, mainly it is because I STILL don't like fish.

You will also see a lot of repeat ingredients. We pretty much buy the same things every week. I just try and change up the recipes a bit. It also makes for quick and easy grocery shopping. I know the products that we can eat and what we can't. We don't buy hardly any snack foods except for pretzels or organic cereal bars for Kaylyn to have. We try and snack on fruit instead. Jason is so nifty. He washes and cuts it all up right when I get home from the grocery store while we are still in the mindset and puts it in cute little baggies in the fridge.

We have found a few favorites that we love.

Brianna's
is a staple salad dressing in our house. We love mostly all of her dressings and they are located in Brenham.

We buy our chicken from THIS local farm in Hempstead. They raise and process all of their chicken.

You will also notice that my recipes aren't too wacky and do not contain food that we cannot pronounce. It is just easier for us to take something that we like and try and find a way to make it healthy for you.

These aren't all of them. I try and make up new stuff like different stir-fry recipes or a meat and two different veggies.

On to the recipes!

Spaghetti

This is your basic spaghetti recipe with a few things changed up a bit like grass-fed beef, whole-wheat pasta, and homemade sauce because most every sauce you buy has corn syrup in it, which is what we are trying to avoid. You can eliminate any veggies you don’t like, but the more the merrier for us!

1 lb. Grass-fed Beef
1 Onion- chopped
3 Cloves Garlic- chopped
3 small cans of Hunts tomato sauce
1 small can of Hunts tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 package of mushrooms- chopped
1 green bell pepper- chopped
1 tablespoon of basil
1 teaspoon of oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper
1 tsp of Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic
1 package of Whole-wheat spaghetti pasta

Brown the meat in ½ of the chopped onion and ½ of the chopped garlic. Add the remaining ingredients- except the noodles. Simmer for about 30 minutes until all of the veggies are soft. While sauce is simmering, boil noodles until they are done. I serve this with Garlic toast using the whole-wheat sugar-free buns. Sprinkle olive oil over the toast along with garlic powder, basil, and dried minced onions. Broil for about 1 minute of until brown.

Burgers


These are a great alternative to regular burgers. You can add any of your favorite toppings that you like. I serve them with red potatoes cut up like French fries sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley.

1 lb. Grass-fed Beef- makes about 6 patties
Garlic Powder
Salt
Pepper
1 avocado- sliced
1 onion- sliced
1 package of mushrooms- chopped
1 tomato- sliced
Mustard or Organic Ketchup (one w/o high fructose corn-syrup)
1 package of Whole-wheat sugar-free buns
5 Red Potatoes for “fries”

Mix meat with salt, pepper, and garlic, Make meat into patties and cooked in a skillet. In a separate skillet, sauté the onions and mushrooms together olive oil. Serve on buns with avocado slices, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spicy mustard.

Chicken Soft Tacos


Delicious! Serve this with Spanish Rice & Black Beans. Recipe follows.

1 free-range chicken cooked & deboned
Salt, Pepper Garlic (let’s call this SPG for remaining recipes since it is on everything!)
1 can of Hunts tomato sauce
1 onion- chopped
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
Avocados- sliced
Tomato- chopped
Lettuce
Olives
Cilantro
1 package of whole-wheat tortillas

After chicken is finished, shred chicken up. Put back in skillet and saute for about 5 minutes with onions. Add tomato sauce and the remaining seasonings. Serve with all of the fixings above on whole-wheat tortillas and a side of Spanish Rice & Black Beans.

Spanish Rice

Brown Rice = Lots of patience. It takes about 45 minutes to cook brown rice, so I usually start this first.

1 cup of 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice
2 ½ cups of water
1 capful of vinegar (this is a tip that helps the rice get fluffy and not stick together)
1 sprinkle of salt
1 can of Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 can of Diced tomatoes- DRAINED
½ cup Shredded Carrots
2 tsp of Cumin
1 tsp of Garlic
1 tsp of Chili Powder
½ tsp of Red Pepper (optional- makes it spicy)
Salt & Pepper

Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil. Add the rice and simmer on medium for about 45 minutes covered. Check and stir the rice occasionally so that is doesn’t stick to pan. When rice is almost done add the remaining ingredients and stir it in. Cover the rice back up and simmer a little longer until finished. Taste the rice and make sure that it is completely done. Brown Rice has a different texture than white rice, which is that it is a little firmer. You just want to make sure it isn’t still crunchy.

Chicken Parmesan

This is a great alternative to regular Chicken Parmesan minus the Parmesan.

4 Chicken Breasts
2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
Italian Seasoning Blend (Mc Cormick)
½ cup of Olive Oil (or enough to cover the pan you are using)
4 small cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 small can of Hunt’s tomato paste
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of basil
1 teaspoon of oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper
2 tsp of Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar
1 package of mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic
1 package of Whole Wheat pasta noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse Chicken off. In a flat dish, put your flour and mix in the Italian seasoning blend. Put your olive oil in a skillet on medium-high to high heat. Let it get really hot so flour will stick to the chicken. Coat chicken with the flour mixture and place in the oil in skillet. Brown both sides, but don’t worry about cooking all of the way through. After chicken is brown, place in a baking dish. In the meantime, make the sauce to pour over the chicken by adding all of tomato sauces, seasonings, bell pepper, mushrooms, and sugar in a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes. You can do this step while chicken is browning. After sauce is done, pour over chicken in the baking dish and place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. While chicken is baking, boil noodles. When everything is finished you will serve the chicken over a bed of pasta. Any kind of pasta is perfect. It depends on what you prefer.

Chicken Fajitas

Everyone has their own way of cooking fajitas. We use chicken tenders and marinate ours in pineapple juice and fajita seasoning for about 1 hour before grilling. Also, we use the typical onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. We substitute Whole Wheat tortillas for the regular ones and don’t use cheese or sour cream. Some good toppings to use are guacamole, cilantro, lime juice, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. We serve with Black Beans and Spanish Rice.

Tortilla Soup

This is one of our favorite soups. You can cook it a million different ways. The only thing that is different about this other than traditional tortilla soup is we don’t top it with cheese or tortilla chips.

1 free-range chicken cooked & deboned
2 cups of sliced carrots
3 zucchini
3 squash
1 bunch of chopped cilantro
2 cans of black beans- drained & rinsed
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 white onion chopped
1 bell pepper- cut in half for seasoning

Boil chicken in a soup pan for about 1 hour. Take chicken out of the broth and then let it cool. Pick chicken off of bone. Strain broth in a strainer and re-use for the soup. You will need about 6 cups of broth. Add all of the ingredients and chicken to broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Healthy Chicken Tenders


The great thing about this recipe is that you can add any seasoning that you like. The wheat flour makes them really crispy and easy to enjoy.

1 package of Chicken Tenders
2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbsp of Complete Seasoning
Olive Oil

Wash Chicken. Mix seasoning with flour. Coat the bottom of the pan with Olive Oil and put it on high heat. Make sure it is hot before you put the chicken in. Coat the chicken in the flour and then place in the hot oil. Cook on both sides until they are a golden brown and crispy. We serve with a side of red potatoes and another veggie.

Pasta Fagoli Soup


3 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of julienne carrots
1 lb. of ground lean turkey meat
4 cans of beef broth
3 cans of Italian diced tomatoes
1 tsp of basil
1 tsp of oregano
1 can kidney beans (drained)
1 can of navy beans (drained)
1 lg. zucchini cut into fourths
1 cup of uncooked whole wheat pasta- Ditalini

Saute celery, onion, and carrots in oil in soup pot. Add turkey meat and brown. Add tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add broth, beans, and zucchini. Boil for 5 minutes. Then add noodles and boil until noodles are done.

Jason’s Excellent Chicken Beans

1 free-range chicken cooked & deboned
2 pounds of pinto beans in bag
2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
1 chopped onion
SPG
1 bunch of cilantro
1 whole jalapeno (don’t cut it up)

Boil chicken in a soup pan for about 1 hour. Take chicken out of the broth and then let it cool. Pick chicken off of bone. Strain broth in a strainer and re-use for the soup. You will need all of broth for beans. Add the remaining ingredients and boil for until beans are soft. This takes about 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally and check the firmness of the beans. Take jalapeno out before serving.

The BEST Salad

Leafy Greens (we buy Spring Mix & Spinach)
Shaved Almonds
Cranberries
Avocado
Carrots
Chicken
Brianna's Honey Mustard Dressing

All I have to say is 'Yummy'! We eat this A LOT. I never get tired of it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

great job...i'm so proud of you sharing all of your "healthy awareness" with every one...we are what we eat and all the processed foods are not good for us at all..probably all made in "China"... love you all...mom

Halei said...

I LOVE this post!! I've been trying to find ways to eat healthier and ya'll are all posting them up!!
I LOVE Brianna's!! I had no idea they were so close...lol, I say I love it and I've only had the Strawberry one, but its so Yummy! I got my roomies hooked on it!!
I might have missed this...but can you buy the beef in a regular store?? I'll go back and check!!

The Kramer Family said...

Hey Halei,
I'm glad you stopped by!

I am hooked on the dressing too! I use the Ginger Mandarin a lot to marinate in and cook stir frys. You should give it a whirl. Delicious!

The only 'grass-fed' beef that they sell in the store is Laura's Lean ground beef. However, it is 'grain-finished' which puts it in the same category as commercial beef. And it is really expensive compared to commercial beef for practically the same thing. The only difference between the two is that it is organic corn that they are feeding them.

There are lots of grass-fed & grass-finished companies online that you can order through.

Unfortunately, ours won't be ready until next summer. When you are raising grass-fed beef it takes a while to fatten them up since you are doing it the natural way instead feeding them out on feed lots pumping them full of corn.

But, when they are ready you will be able to order various cuts of meat from us or a whole cow!

That is so great that you are seeking to eat healthier. I realized that it was a lot simpler than I had made it out to be.

See ya!
Lynsey

The Kramer Family said...

Mom,
Aren't you proud? I put some recipes up for you......finally! Ha!
Love you!

Maass Family said...

Finally...healthy recipes that are doable/realistic!!

I too would like to improve the way I feed my family. Your vacation breakfast is the way Brian and I were raised so ofcourse, that's how I've cooked for years:( I have talked to other women and always walk away feeling overwhelmed. I even tried to go all organic at once. Let me tell you, I spent our whole month's grocery budget in about 2 1/2 weeks. Did you know your husband would get cranky when there was no food in the house?

I too love to cook but unfortunately am not a creative cook. I can follow someone else's recipes to a "T" and then fiddle with it to make it the way we like it, but I'm not good making up/creating my own. So Linsey, here's your job...you have to come cook dinner for my family every night and my problem will be solved! Sounds great to me:)

Seriously though, you should make a whole section on your blog for healthy recipes and add to it as you have time and just let the collection grow on here. I would love to learn more about what products you buy, where you purchase them, and gain some recipes as well. You've got me hyped up now!

I would love to sit and chat with you sometime about how to make healthier eating simpler. I think I too have made it more complicated that it has to be.

I also LOVE the Brianna's dressing. You and Heather got me hooked on the strawberry spinach salad. So insanely good!!

Keep on teaching us girl, we're listening!!

Kim

Maass Family said...

Linsey,

I noticed most of yor recipes include salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Paula Deen, from Food Network, makes a batch of "house seasoning" and it's the perfect balance of SPG ratio. Kyle and I use it in all our cooking. There is very little I only use S&P in.

1 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix all until well combined and store. I mix up a batch of this, usually doubling the recipe, and store in a mason jar with my other seasonings. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my house seasoning!

Enjoy!

Kim

recipes with twist said...

The best job you have done by posting about a lot of things about food here in just one post.