garden to goodness.

overnight bone broth.

this is a pretty specific recipe because I do no f**k with red meat in the kitchen. I only make chicken bone broth- it’s fine, it’s delicious, if you need another broth tutorial then google it.

okay. go ahead and fill your crockpot with 2 qts. of water, turning the heat to high for now, while you chop veggies and work with the chicken.

I will go ahead and assume that you all can figure out how to boil a chicken for 90 minutes without indulging in the play-by-play, so that we can dive right in to separating the chicken and preparing the liquids. (please let the chicken cool, I already have children, I don’t wanna hear you complain that you burnt yourself bc I didn’t say to let the meat rest)

de-boning a chicken is gross and it’s not my favorite double entendre either but it’s necessary. put some gloves on and get to work. pull the skin off first and toss it in the crock pot. remove all the light (and dark if its your thing) meat from the bone and use it for whatever you want. see below for adding it to pho. it is okay to leave some of the dark meat remnants on the bone. that’s what make this different than stock. the more the merrier. put all chicken related things into the heated water.

it is basically a free for all from here on out but I can give you suggestions of what to include: yellow/red onion & garlic (skins and all), green onions, a jalapeno or dried smoked pepper, celery, basil, coriander seeds, star anise, a stick of cinnamon, and a generous amount of salt & black pepper. once all the stuff is in, add 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar. I guess white vinegar would work too but might be easier to spot taste-wise. the vinegar/acid helps break down the collagen in the bones so that more gelatin is released.

most of these ingredients are from the produce section but the more obscure items are worth the hunt at your local health food store. star anise is my not-so-secret-now addition and a must if you plan to use this broth for Pho. you can also just tossed in scraps of veggies that you may have. kitchen sink type recipe; zero rules for broth.

the crockpot is my best friend. it will be yours, too. because now you can turn this down to the low setting and go to bed. or cook for four hours if you aren’t sleepy. just be prepared for all the lovely smells.

I don’t strain this like you would stock because I’m a rebel. and because collagen is good for you. but I do run it through the colander and compost the veggies. bones and chicken skin can’t be composted, sadly- they are the only part of this recipe that are discarded but you’ve made good use of them so don’t feel too bad. most chicken broths are gonna look an amber color FYI. you can store broth in mason jars now and wait for the gel layer to form on top. it’s the good stuff. best if used within a week. or frozen for six months.

bonus material: PHO !

it’s this easy y’all…  1. buy rice noodles 2. boil water and drop rice noodles in for 2-3 minutes until soft(ish) 3. drain and put in bowl 4. pour broth that’s been heated with some of your pulled chicken over the noods 5. add your sauces- sriracha, chili oil, fish sauce, hoisin, or whatever your little heart desires 6. garnish with cilantro, green onions, sprouts, jalapenos

THAT’S IT! by no means is this a traditional pho recipe but it will cure a craving.

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spinach & blue cheese ravioli with mushrooms. (includes pasta dough from scratch)

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this meal is rich and hearty and full of layered flavors. it’s also something you can make in less than hour from start to finish. you heard it! ravioli that’s completely diy; just as fast ordering a pizza but double as rewarding.

the trick to this meal is making it your own. i’ll try to add in the steps that allow for variances in ingredients and give you my suggestions for what else would make this dish work. and the recipe happily serves two.

filling:

*make first and let sit while creating the dough*

2 handfuls of fresh spinach (yes, handful is a measurement)

a brick of cream cheese or ricotta (plant-based works well too)

a decent chunk of soft bleu cheese or any soft cheese

salt & pepper to taste

dough:

2.50 c flour (any variation of flour works here)

additional cup of flour for rolling out dough

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-1 c water (feel it out depending on flour used)

2 tsp olive oil

mushroom sauce:

cup of sliced baby bellas or white caps

tbsp of any cooking oil

chili oil (find in Asian section at the grocery, its amazing)

2 or 3 crushed garlic cloves

3 tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce

like I said in the ingredients list, you can maximize your time by making the filling first and tossing it aside to get to room temp. it will be easier to spoon into the ravioli this way.

mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together, leaving a well in the center. add the liquids here. mix with a wooden spoon until your arm hurts, then dump the dough out onto a floured surface. give it a good two to three minutes of kneading until it’s more firm than sticky but still malleable. over kneading dough is easy to do here and while it won’t ruin it it does change the taste of it quite a bit. then, halve the dough and roll it out one half at a time. my darling gf didn’t have a rolling pin but I highly recommend using one. we also improvised and cut the ravioli out with the mouth of a medium sized glass, which worked better than using the glass as a rolling pin. repeat this with all the dough.

now is a good time to salt some water and throw it on to boil.

once you have all the circles cut, grab a small bowl of water. this will be the “glue” when closing up your dough. take the filling and drop by the tablespoon into the dough circles. brush around the edges with your finger & water then seal those babies up into a half moon shape. I crimp the edges with a fork just to make sure they stay super sealed.

I dropped in a half dozen ravioli at a time to the boiling water. they are gonna let you know when they’re done by rising to the surface. super simple. you can set them into a collander in the sink (a cleanish sink, obviously) with a decent coating of EVOO so they don’t stick together while you cook the remaining raviolis.

my preference is an al dente dough with crispy edges so this sauce is perfect. just enough to almost fry the raviolis but still light enough to be a sauce of sorts. just heat the oils on medium high, toss in garlic until browned, throw in mushrooms and liquid aminos, salt & pepper to taste. simmer on medium for about five minutes before letting the pasta join the mixture. you can cook that as long as you want for crispy ravioli or remove them from the heat after a quick coating in the mushrooms.

there ya go. my attempt at date night showing off was a delicious success. I plated it with some pesto & sriracha. next time, I think i’ll experiment with some dried herbs in the pasta dough and an autumn squash instead of mushrooms! follow along for more recipes ❤

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creamy vanilla oat milk.

this recipe is so simple & cost-effective that I could kick myself for buying the preservative packed containers for $5 a half gallon at the grocery. it probably cost 75 cents to make just about a quart and I was able to sweeten it and create my preferred consistency. there are some gadgets out there that aid in making milk alteratives but a $2.50 package of natural cheesecloth from Whole Foods, a blender, and a mason jar did the trick.

so, here’s what you need…

1 c. organic old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)

3 c. filtered water

1-2 tbsp. of sweetener

(you can stay basic here with a liquid sugar sub, try maple syrup or honey, or get fancy by blending in 3 or 4 medjool dates)

scrapings from one vanilla bean (optional)

manual labor is minimal, exactly how I like it. four little steps & you’re ready to chill it!

  1. add all ingredients into the blender and blend (duh) I’d say a minute will get you smooth enough to strain.
  2. cover the lid of the mason jar very loosely with a large square of cheesecloth, enough to hold about a half cup of liquid, then secure with a rubber band,
  3. slowly pour the liquid through the cheese cloth until it all finds it’s happy new home in a sterilized mason jar.
  4. remove the rubber band and squeeze out any liquid left in the oat mixture.

the fine print- if unsweetened is your preference, for cooking and such, just leave out the last two ingredients, though it is not recommended that you heat this milk on the stove or microwave. it will change the consistency quite a bit as it breaks down at higher heat. also, separation is normal- just give it a shake. I’d recommend making it in this volume because it will only stay fresh in the refrigerator about a week. and it’s easy enough to make that you can do it during meal prep or even while you brew your coffee in the morning, if you’re in a pinch

that’s it! best part is that you can use the oatmeal in your compost, mix it in some overnight oats, or use it for a face mask. ❤

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spicy butternut squash pasta sauce.

a cute, little farmer’s market squash can turn out to be more work than one wishes to sign up for. impossible to peel. long roasting times. I usually opt for pre-cut and ready to cook, tbh. but, this pasta sauce is ridiculously easy, no peeling involved, and can be altered for use with any pureed summer squash. the heat can be turned up or taken out completely. fresh herbs from the garden, I chose sweet basil, give it an additional flavor level. and curry, always curry. this week, I’m also tackling homemade farfalle pasta to serve it with later this week and will share that process, as well. (if it works!)

start by giving your squash a good scrub. I keep a spray bottle of diluted white vinegar and scrub brush under the sink.

cut it in half. depending on which squash you select, this step can be a tough one. good leverage and some patience are required. it doesn’t have to be pretty anyway.

preheat the oven to 375.

here’s where you can begin to customize your recipe. brush the halves, liberally, with oil. I went with olive oil even though I wanted to try out a new sunflower oil that I got. I wasn’t sure what it’s smoke point/burn temp was so I stuck with the basics. this is a good factor to keep in mind when roasting and broiling. ghee, coconut oil, or some good ol’ butter would be my other recommendations. then, I gave it a serious sprinkling of salt, pepper, and chili powder. the seasonings won’t really soak in to the fruit but they amp up the flavor when you puree the flesh.

See the source image
pathways4health.org

toss that thing in the oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on size. it’s good to go once you can stick a fork in easily.

now, I only let my squash cool for about 15 minutes for two reasons… impatience AND the warmth helps the sauce thicken faster so you can get a better idea of how much liquid to add as you blend. you can puree it at any point, even cook & refrigerate ahead if you want. I used my Ninja but a regular blender is just fine. best part of this recipe is that you can add everything at once and taste as you go.

grab all your fixin’s…

1.5-2 c. full fat coconut milk is my preference for this because it pairs well with the squash and curry combo. if you plan to use cow’s milk or a nut/soy milk, I would add slightly more oil to give it some fullness

2 tbsp. olive oil & 1 tsp. chili oil. again, your options are limitless here. I got this yummy chili oil in the Asian section at the grocery. it would also be my recommendation that you add half of what I suggest at a time and check your consistency as you go.

small handful of fresh herbs from the garden. I debated between basil & thyme, could have done both, but went with basil to balance out the heat. a dried sage would also be great but I had just clipped my sage and it’s best used dry. other herbs that would pair- dill, coriander or cilantro, or rosemary.

season until your heart is content. the addition of yellow curry was a must for me and then I kept it simple with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. the squash can take on a bit more salt than most things but do what you gotta do.

note- if you have an immersion blender you would want to add all ingredients and re-warm in a sauce pan instead.

and, that’s it! your sauce is ready to store. I’d say a week is the max time frame for storage in the fridge if you aren’t using it right away and if you open the container once, it’s best to use it all or toss it to avoid bacteria and all that fun stuff. so, storing in more than one container might be more practical.

thanks for hanging in there for my first recipe post and if you make this send me a photo and let me know how it turns out!