Real Food for Health and Pleasure is a blog dedicated to the pure enjoyment of food! The focus is on using natural and organic foods, but the recipes and time and money saving tips will still work with less wholesome varieties. You will find information on how to eat healthy food without going low fat, low carb, or any of the other "low"s, but rather, by eating quality, natural foods.
Add water, honey, and yeast to bread machine pan. I think I
may have poured more than 3 tablespoons of honey. Let sit for a while until it
starts getting kind of foamy.
While you wait, cube the cheese and set it in the freezer.
Add flour and the rest of your ingredients (except the cheese and garlic) to
the machine. Set on dough cycle and start.
My dough cycle take 90 minutes. Dump the doughball on an
oiled piece of wax paper. Place the cheese cubes and roasted garlic cloves all
over the top of the dough, and then knead them in. Stretch and twist the dough
into a long loaf, and place on a cookie sheet, diagonally if needed to fit. I
lined mine with parchment paper. Cover with the oiled wax paper and place in a
warm area of your kitchen to rise while the oven preheats. I set mine next to
Preheat your oven to 400. When it comes up to temperature,
open and turn it down to 350. Uncover dough and bake for 20 minutes, then check
it. It will probably need about 7 more minutes to start turning a nice golden
Broth or stock is the base for most soups, many sauces, and
used in place of water to improve grains such as rice. Many recipes give you
the option of using store-bought broth or stock, but nothing compares to
homemade. Making your own is very easy, a great way to get the most out of meat
you buy that contains bones, and gives you control over the flavor, any
possible unwanted ingredients, and the sodium level (if you care about that
sort of thing).
This is the basic method,
without any salt or seasonings.
Put the bones in a pot, raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter.
Add an acid - vinegar or lemon juice (a couple of table spoons to half a cup).
Cover the bones with cold water (you can go an inch or two above the bones
depending on how they sit in the pot).
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, so the acid can do its work pulling minerals
out of the bone.
Turn on the heat and simmer for several hours - beef bones take about twice as
long as chicken. If you are doing this on the stove or in a slow cooker,
chicken bones should simmer for at least four to six hours, and beef bones need
six to 12. Or, you can use a pressure cooker and cut your time down
significantly (see below).
Cool, strain, and put your broth fridge overnight. Save the bones if this is
your first time (see below).
Lift the congealed fat layer off the top. Your broth should have the
consistency of Jell-O.
Why You Should Save
the Bones if This is Your First Attempt
If your broth or stock did not gel, you probably need to
toss the bones back in and simmer some more. This can also happen if you use
too much water for the amount of bones.
Using a Pressure
This is much faster in a pressure cooker. Once it has come
up to pressure and you’ve reduced the temperature, chicken broth takes about 45
minutes and beef takes about 90 minutes. DO read the instructions for your
pressure cooker thoroughly if you are not familiar with it.
I use whatever bones I have from cooking chicken. For beef,
I’ve used rib bones after making ribs, and I’ve bought beef bones at the store.
If I buy them, I choose a mix of femur bones and bones with lots of cartilage.
Check out some of the Benefits of Bone Broth.
I often add a good handful of coarse salt. Sometimes I don’t
add any flavorings. If the bones are from cooked meat your both will likely
take on some of the flavor of the dish. You can use raw bones. Roasting beef
bones before making your broth gives it a deeper, richer flavor. Adding roasted
onion and garlic does, too.
I normally buy red sauce because it’s so quick and easy to
make a yummy, filling meal of spaghetti and meat sauce with a good jarred sauce.
But, I have started making homemade mozzarella and ricotta, and I am planning
to use them in lasagna, so it just seemed like homemade red sauce was called
for. If I’m feeling really energetic I’ll even make my own lasagna noodles.
This is the recipe for the basic red sauce, which goes well
on perogies, tortellini, or as a dipping sauce for fried zucchini or bread
sticks. It would work for pizza sauce, too. Of course, you can easily turn this
into a meat sauce (instructions below).
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer extra light tasting)
1 regular can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
4 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
¼ cup Shiraz (red wine)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil
over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and cook,
stirring, until the onions are translucent. Add roasted garlic.
Place the whole canned tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze
to break into small pieces. Be careful when squeezing or you’ll quirt juice all
over your kitchen.
Add the broken-up tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce,
Shiraz, bay leaf, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar to the pot and
stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and
simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.
Turning this into
If meat sauce is what you are really after, just brown about
1½ pounds of ground beef with your favorite seasonings (I use salt, onion
powder, garlic powder, basil and a touch of oregano) and drain off the excess
grease. Return the beef to the pan and season some more if needed. When the meat
is good and flavorful, toss it into your red sauce, stir, and simmer for a few
minutes. If you are not going to us it right away, you can skip that last
simmer until you are warming the sauce to serve.
This goes great in lasagna, or on top of spaghetti.
This is so quick, easy, and good. It looks like a great way to use up some of the ingredients you have hanging around the fridge, too. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for inviting ways to use up the rest of the fresh spinach before it goes bad.
So what we have here is some chicken, cheese, spinach and guacamole, rolled up in a tortilla and cut into bite-sized peices. It would make a great snack, appetizer, or main dish. You could even serve it up with some homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Personally, I would use sliced cheddar or pepper jack in place of American cheese, and substitute some of my cook-ahead chicken for the store-bought chicken in the original recipe, but I love the idea here!
One thing that's pictured, but not named,in the original blog post is Wholly Guacamole, store-bought guac. While nothing beats homemade guacamole, I have found that this brand is quite good, and makes for a very acceptable substitute for the real thing. Normally I won't touch store-bought guac, so that's a pretty big deal.
I love ranch dressing. I have always loved it, and still
firmly believe that many foods are really just a tool for getting the ranch to
your mouth. Many years ago I started noticing that when I ate appetizers or salad
with it, I would start to feel crappy and lose my appetite before my main dish
Of course, it turned out that the store-bought ranch and
mixes were loaded with MSG. I did eventually find some brands that do not have
it, but after a while I get tired of them. I started making my own, but the
results were hit and miss, and it was a lot of work. Finally I found a recipe
that looked good. I tweaked it a bit to suit my taste. It consistently turns
out great, and it’s quick and easy.
You’ll notice that I reduced the mayonnaise and increased
the sour cream. That’s one of the problems I have with the better stuff I have
found in stores – it just tastes and feels too heavy on the mayonnaise. I also
reduced the dill and increased the onion powder. When I made it with the full
portion of dill I found it overpowered the flavors.
I prefer to use my homemade sour cream, which is made the same way as crème fraîche and crema Mexicana. From what I
have found so far, they are one in the same. I’m still trying to find more on
that and figure out if there is supposed to be some subtle difference that I’m
missing in my reading or what. I plan to write a post on that in the near
1 cup homemade sour cream (or crème fraîche, crema Mexicana, or
half store-bought sour cream and half buttermilk)
½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon onion
¼ teaspoon garlic
¼ teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients. I like to do this in the
container I am going to store the dressing in. Cover and refrigerate for at
least 30 minutes so it’s nice and chilled and the flavors are well blended.
This is one of my favorite dishes. It is a nice change from the
usual flavors we have around here. My recipe is adapted from a dish my mom used
to make which was adapted from a veal scaloppini recipe. Don’t worry, there is
no veal involved. In fact, there is no form of scaloppini in this recipe.
Stew meat, or any cut of beef cut into large bite-sized pieces
On a plate on in a large baggie, mix together flour, salt,
and onion powder. Coat the meat with the flour mixture, and shake off excess
flour. I put mine on a plate or in a bowl after I shake off the flour, just to
make things easier.
Heat an iron skillet on medium-high. When it’s hot add olive
oil, covering the bottom of the pan. Brown the meat, placing just one layer of
meat in the skillet. You are not trying to cook the meat through, just brow the
outside. You may have to work in batches. I drizzle some olive oil on top of
the meat while it’s in the skillet and before I flip it. If the pan goes fry of
oil, add more oil.
Set the browned meat aside, and clean the skillet. This is
easy, just run cold water in the very hot skillet and scrub with a nylon brush.
The goal is to get the browned flour out. Put the skillet back on the stove to
reheat and dry. It only takes a minute. When the skillet is hot again, add a just
little oil and return the meat to the skillet. Pour in lemon juice, drizzling
over meat, cover, and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes,
The amount of lemon juice will vary according to how much
liquid you want. It will cook down and form a thick sauce with the flour from
the coated meat. You can add more lemon juice as you go if it’s drying out too
You can keep this warm on the stove or in the oven for quite
a while before serving. Serve with on top of white rice. It goes well with
steamed and buttered Brussels sprouts.
Snow, something of a rare occurrence the last few years, calls
for chili. My last batch just wasn’t hot enough. It came out more like beef
stew. So, this time I was hoping to step up the heat, while keeping it in range
for those who can’t handle the really hot stuff. I think it came out pretty hot,
meaning too hot for some, but not too hot for me. If you add some of the
serving goodies below it will cool it down.
2.5 lbs bottom round beef, cubed
1 bulb garlic, roasted
5 green chilies, roasted, peeled, and diced
1 large red onion, diced
3 jalapenos, diced with seeds
3 dried red chilies, whole with stems cut off
1½ tsp chili powder
1½ tsp caribe
½ tsp oregano
1 large can diced tomatoes
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Serving goodies (optional)
Shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese Homemade
I roasted, peeled, and froze my green chilies a couple of
months ago, so those just had to be thawed out and cut up. The dried red
chilies are a PITA to cut up, so this time I just cut off the stem and threw
them in whole to leach out their yummy goodness.
Preparing the Meat
Cut the meat in bite-sized cubes (or buy it that way). Put
it in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the rest
of the meat ingredients and toss to coat.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on med-high. Add a little
olive oil. Toss in the meat and brown. You’ll want to stir it some as it browns,
and you’ll see that it produces a fair amount of juices.
Making the Chili
Add the onions, jalapeno, roasted garlic, and green chilies,
and stir well. Let this cook a bit. The onions should wilt, but don’t have to
Toss in the dried red chilies, and pour in the diced tomatoes.
Add some water to the tomato can, swirl it around in the can, and pour that in.
Add the dried spices, and stir.
The dried red chilies will poke down without
breaking after they absorb some moisture. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1
hour, stirring occasionally.
I think it should be a personal choice, and I don't think I would oppose the requirement of some kind of warning label about a general increased risk of food poisoning if that compromise would wipe out the laws against raw dairy.
This is so easy, and so, so good. The only drawback is that
it takes a long time, but it’s not hands-on time, just lots of waiting. It is
kind of like French onion soup. I eat it as a soup on its own. My husband uses
it for French dip sandwiches. It starts with homemade beef bone
broth. I have been making it in a pressure cooker lately.
Beef bones (5 or 6)
Onions (about 4)
Garlic (2 bulbs)
Coarse sea salt
The key to this recipe is roasting the bones, onion, and
garlic first. I do this in the oven at 400, for 45 minute to 1 ½ hours. You can
use a glass baking dish or oven-proof bowl. A bowl seems to work best for the
bones. Put all the bones in a glass, oven-safe bowl and drizzle some olive oil
on top (just to keep them from sticking). Slice the onions into thirds. I don’t
bother peeling them. Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs. Pour a little olive
oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Put the onion and garlic in the
baking dish. Roast the bones, onion and garlic. The onion and garlic will be
done before the bones.
Making the Broth
Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the pressure
cooker. Toss in one bulb of garlic and half of your onions. Save the rest of
the onions and garlic, and the oil they roasted in, for later. Toss in the
bones and the oil and fat from the bones. Add some lemon juice (maybe ¼ cup),
sea salt (about a handful or so), and cold water. My pressure cooker has a line
that shows you how much water you can add.
Let this sit and soak for 30 minutes before starting the
pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to temperature, then turn it
down, or do it however your model works. Cook in pressure cooker for 90
minutes. Strain the liquid into another container, put the bones, onion and
garlic back into the pressure cooker, add some more lemon juice, and cook it
all again for another hour and a half. Strain the second batch and press all
the juices you can out of the bones, onion, and garlic.
Discard the bones, onion and garlic (not the onion and
garlic you saved for later).
If you don’t want all of the fat from the broth, put it in
the fridge overnight. The fat will rise and congeal on top and you can just
pull it off and toss it.
Finishing the Soup
If your broth is chilled, it will be a jiggly lump. That’s
good; it means it came out right. Place about 6 cups of broth in a pot on the
stove. Store the rest in the fridge or freeze it for other recipes or just to
sip on. Peel the onions and toss them in the broth. Squeeze the garlic out of
its shell, into the broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. It will
I have discovered out that my zucchini
cakes make a great cook-ahead item for breakfast.
I’m having some food allergies and other health issues, so
wheat is off the menu for the time being. That means I needed an alternative to
toast or biscuits to sop up my eggs yolks. The zucchini cakes are perfect, and
I like them better than hash browns. I heat two in the oven topped with some
butter, and serve them topped with fried eggs.
I have never been a big quiche fan, but I needed something I
could make ahead and heat up in the mornings for a quick and easy breakfast. I
do not put cheese in these when I cook them, but I put shredded cheddar in the
bowl with my quiche when I eat it. I also top it with a little homemade ranch
dressing and nutritional yeast.
You’ll bake these in a muffin tin. Grease it thoroughly or
use the little paper liners! A dozen eggs will make 12 mini quiche, but you can
make smaller batches if you want.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Chop up the spinach, green onions,
parsley, and tomatoes. I use bacon bits made from real bacon so I don’t have to
bother with cooking and cutting up the bacon. Toss the bacon and veggies
together in a bowl, and try to get them evenly distributed.
Ladle the eggs into the muffin tin, filling each spot about
halfway. Add your other ingredients to each until you have used them all up.
Bake at 325 until fully cooked. I checked mine often, and I think it took 20 or
30 minutes, but the recipes I have read call for shorter cooking times. I don’t
know what the deal is with that, so keep checking and DO NOT let them burn!