Simply Sauteed Okra

I’ll let you in on a secret. I used to think that I don’t like okra. The only way I’d had it was deep fried with a corn meal breading. It was ok if it was well done and really fresh, but nothing to write home about. I’d never touches okra in any other way shape or form. I didn’t grow up with it and my husband described it as gross and slimy. I never gave this southern staple a chance.

A few weeks ago my friend Nikki totally changed all that for me. We went over for a barbecue at her house and she had roasted some Okra from her garden in some olive oil and salt. They were the most delicious little appetizer/snack. We munched on them while the boys grilled the meat.

When I went to the farmers market on Wednesday, I picked up a basked of red okra and talked to the lady at the stand about cooking them. She recommended sauteing them with a little salt and pepper. I decided to play around with it a little bit and came up with my own 3 ingredient recipe. It’s super simple and comes together in a flash.

Sauteed Okra
 
Ingredients
  • fresh okra
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the okra into bite-sized chunks (discarding the tops). If you're in a hurry, cut them into smaller chunks.
  2. Heat some coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced okra to the pan and let it cook. Occasionally move them around in the pan until they are soft and start to brown a bit on the edges.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

I didn’t give any measurements in the recipe on purpose. Cut up about 2 medium sized okra pods per person. Use enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan. If the Okra starts to stick to the skillet, add a little more. Season with salt to taste.

Okra pan fried in coconut oil

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe

One of the kid-friendliest ways to use up a bunch of zucchini is to “hide” it in a yummy breakfast bread like the one below. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know it’s got a nice serving of vegetables right inside the warm loaf of yummy breakfast bread. My husband even went so far as telling our daughter she could only have 1 slice for breakfast since it wasn’t all that good for you… she gobbled it up and declared it was the best banana bread I’ve ever made.

The recipe is from “The Zucchini Cookbook” available on Amazon Kindle.

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, beat eggs, canola oil, grated lemon rind, egg and vanilla extract until completely combined. Add zucchini, stir until well combined. Add flour mixture, stir just until well mixed. Fold in walnuts.
  4. Divide batter evenly two loaf pans and cook for about an hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack. Let cool completely on wire rack.

 

Sliced zucchini bread with walnuts

Zucchini and Ground Beef Stew

My neighbor down the road is a big gardener. He’s gotten a much earlier start this year than we did … Plus I guess it helps that he actually knows what he’s doing. We stopped by earlier today to talk about plants and how to best take care of our tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini and squash.  We walked out of there with 4 beautiful zucchini that I’m turning into a yummy zucchini and ground beef stew with tomatoes, onions and garlic. It’s one of my favorite summer meals. It’s great on its own topped with a little Parmesan cheese, or you can serve it over cooked rice or pasta.

Beef and Zucchini Stew
 
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop your onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini.
  2. Brown the ground beef and add the onion. When the meat is almost done browning, add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the meat is done.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini and give it all a good stir. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid).
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender to your liking.

This tastes just as good warmed up the next day, so don’t be afraid of leftovers.

Homemade Beef and Zucchini Stew made with zucchini fresh from the garden.

Fried Rice with Vegetables

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is so versatile. Serve the veggie fried rice as a main dish or lunch, or as a side when you’re making fish or baked chicken. 

Vary the veggies depending on what you already have at home, what’s on sale at the store or what’s in season to make this even more frugal.

If you’re making this as a main dish, consider scrambling up some eggs and pouring them in once the veggies are pretty close to being done. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the egg is done to your liking.

Veggie Fried Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh green onions, including tops
Instructions
  1. Put a large heavy skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil and heat well, then add rice, stirring until light golden in color.
  2. Add in the broccoli and peas, stir and cook until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions, stir until ingredients are all hot.
  4. Serve immediately.

Use gluten free soy sauce to make this a gluten-free dish. 

Veggie Fried Rice

Ginger Mint Green Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. How about starting the day with a yummy green smoothie packed full of stuff that’s not only tasty but good for you too.

If you’re making this smoothie for the kids, leave out the ginger (or only add a tiny piece) and consider making it with apple juice or adding more fruit to make it a bit sweeter.

Green Smoothie with Mint and Ginger
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups of baby spinach, washed
  • enough fresh water for consistency you want
  • 1 pear, core remove and diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh chopped mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Put the spinach in your blender and fill about half way up with fresh water, then blend until smooth, adding more water to get the consistency you want to drink. Once you have it blended, add the diced pear, ginger root, and ¼ cup mint leaves. Blend, add more water if necessary, and taste. Add more mint if you like, then blend until frothy.
  2. Serve immediately. Will make 1 serving and is easily doubled.

 

Glass of healthy green vegetable smoothie with mint and ginger

On St. Patrick's Day Everyone Can Be IrishOn St. Patrick’s Day Everyone Can Be Irish

St. Patrick’s Day gives us all an excuse to have some fun and eat delicious comfort foods.

Just thinking about corned beef, cabbage & soda bread give me goose bumps.  Those classic Irish dishes are among some of my favorite but it’s fun when you can find new recipes that make your tummy happy.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner I thought it would be nice to put together some recipes and crafts and create a kindle ebook to celebrate.

You’ll find delicious Irish food along with a bunch of crafts that your family will enjoy creating together.

And remember, with all Kindle ebooks, you don’t need a Kindle to download them. Amazon makes it easy to put right on your computer, laptop, or other e-reader or device. And the price is right, too!

www.hillbillyhousewife.com/stpaddybook

Vegan Cauliflower Bake

I love cauliflower and have been cooking with it quite a bit lately. With it’s mild flavor, it’s a great dish that goes with just about anything and a great way to get my family to eat more veggies. In order to cut back a bit on the dairy we eat, I tried my hand at making a vegan cauliflower bake that still has that yummy “cheesy” taste. I love how this turned out and it got two thumbs up from my husband and daughter as well.

Vegan Cauliflower Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Sidedish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into pieces and place it in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and nutritional yeast and toss, so the cauliflower is fully coated.
  3. Put the mixture in a non-stick or greased baking dish and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for about 40-45 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and nicely browned. Flip half through.

 

Cauliflower Bake

How To Grill Portabello Mushrooms

In 2014 we’re doing our best to eat healthier. I’ve been cooking more veggies, more “real food” (unprocessed) and we’ve cut back on red meat quite a bit. One replacement that’s been working pretty well is mushrooms. They are filling, have that “meaty” flavor and texture, but they’re a lot better for you. Take these grilled portabellos for example. They are an excellent alternative to steak. I serve them with a side salad and some potatoes.

How To Grill Portabello Mushrooms
 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 portabello mushroom caps
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and place them gill side up on a plate.
  2. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small dish. Pour most of this marinade over the mushrooms. Brush the mushroom tops (which are touching your plate) with the remaining marinade. Let the mushrooms marinate for about an hour.
  3. Fire up your grill and grill, top side down for about 15 minutes. You can also bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F.

 

grilled portabello mushroom

Easy Baba Ganouj Dip

Baba Ganouj is a yummy and healthy middle eastern dip you’ve got to try. I’ve stayed away from this in the past because I’m a) not a huge fan of eggplant and b) it seemed a little too involved having to roast a whole eggplant first. I’ve enjoyed making the much easier version below and I hope you will as well.  If you don’t have tahini or are looking for a slightly more frugal way to make this, try using some unsweetened peanut butter instead. I prefer the baba ganouj with tahini, but the pb will do in a pinch. I serve this with pita, crackers or some cut up raw veggies.

Baba Ganouj
 
Recipe type: Dip
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 2 inch chunks, wrap them in foil and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Remove the skin from the cooled eggplant and place it in a blender. Add the garlic, parsley, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
  4. The dip tastes great right away, but letting the flavors blend in the refrigerator for a couple hours will be even better.

 

baba ganouj

Spinach Cheese Bake

I don’t have to tell you that dark leafy greens like spinach are good for you. The hard part is getting used to eating them, especially if you have small children. My solution is to add a little cheese to the mix. This recipe calls for quite a bit of cheese. If your solution (like mine) is to eat a little healthier this year, start reducing the cheese a bit every time you make it until there’s just a bit of Swiss cheese covering the yummy spinach.

Spinach Cheese Bake
 
Recipe type: Sidedish
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven the oven to 350 F
  2. Over medium heat, heat the butter. Once it’s melted, add the onion and garlic, sautéing until tender.
  3. Add the spinach and mix with a wooden spoon to coat the spinach. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover your pan with a lid. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Now you’re ready to get your casserole dish ready. Put half the shredded cheese on the bottom of the casserole. On top, place all the spinach mixture. Then top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered, for about 20 minutes or so, or until the cheese begins to bubble.

 

Spinach Cheese Bake

Steamed Asparagus With Pine Nuts

One of my resolutions for this year is to cook more healthy food and to get a little more adventurous when it comes to cooking my veggies. I usually just boil asparagus or roast it with a little olive oil and salt. This version is steamed and the pine nuts add a nice bit of crunch. If you’re not a big fan of pine nuts, try some chopped almonds or even walnuts instead. I love the addition of vinegar. It adds a nice bit of tang to the dish, making it much more satisfying without adding calories.

All in all this is a winner and will make an appearance on our dinner table much more regularly, especially in the spring when there is plenty of fresh asparagus to be found at the grocery stores and the farmers market.

Steamed Asparagus With Pine Nuts
 
Recipe type: Vegetable
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Cut the ends of the asparagus stems and steam the spears for about 3 minutes.
  2. Once the asparagus has steamed, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the red wine vinegar and asparagus and saute for about 2 minutes. When the asparagus starts to brown slightly it’s ready. Season it with salt and pepper and topped with chopped nuts.

 

steamed asparagus topped with pine nuts.

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Down here we traditionally eat ham, collard greens and back-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. This year I’m going to make my collard greens in the slow cooker and thought I’d share the recipe with you. Just get them started around lunch time and by dinner they will be delicious and tender. Flavor and texture is the main reason I started cooking my greens in the slow cooker. Because of the large volume of the raw greens, I saute them in my largest pot first to give them a chance to shrink down a bit before adding them to the crockpot.

Crockpot Collards
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • leftover ham / ham bone
  • 5 lb collard greens
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by prepping your collard greens. Pull the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems. I like to add them along with any other raw veggie pieces to a freezer bag and use them down the road to make broth. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Wash and dry the collard greens.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion has softened. I find it helps to add a dash of salt to the onion mixture.
  4. Increase the heat and add the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to the boil, then start adding your greens. Add as many as will comfortably fit, allow them to wilt down, then add more.
  5. Add the ham bone or leftover ham pieces to the bottom of the slowcooker. Pour the collard mixture on top. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

 

Collard greens

 

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

I remember the first time I had this salad. It was at a family cookout and I loved it. It took me a few different tries to come up with a version just like it. It’s since become a favorite. I’ll make it when I know we’ll cook something on the grill for dinner. I can have this ready and waiting in the fridge while we  hang out in the backyard.

This recipe is also very flexible. You can leave out the bacon if you’re serving vegetarians. Add some sliced almonds or chopped pecans or use cranberries instead of raisins. I’ve even had a version that had pineapple, bacon and cheese that was delicious.

Broccoli and Bacon Salad With Raisins
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups broccoli
  • 6 bacon strips
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¼ cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by frying up the bacon. Allow it to cool on some paper towels (to catch the grease) and crumble it up. Set it aside.
  2. Peel and chop the red onion finely, and then set it aside as well.
  3. Boil some water in a large pot and add a good dash of salt. It will help season the broccoli and keep it nice and green. Cut the broccoli into small florets and boil them in the water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain them and run cool water over them to help cool them down.
  4. Put the cooked broccoli, bacon, cheese and raisins into a bowl. In a small bowl or a mason jar, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Add salt and pepper and pour the dressing over the veggies.
  5. Cover the salad bowl and let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

 

Crockpot Spaghetti Squash

I love spaghetti squash. It’s healthy, filling and a great pasta substitute. The only problem with it is cooking it. It cooks faster when you cut it in half, but it’s pretty hard to do. After trying to do it myself and almost losing a finger, I now have my husband do the cutting if I’m roasting the squash. Of course that requires him to be around when it’s time to get the squash started in the oven, which doesn’t always happen.

Instead I started cooking the whole squash in the crockpot. It’s quick and easy and the slow cooker won’t heat up your house the way the oven can. Here’s what I do…

Get out your large crockpot and place the squash in it. Add a cup of water, close the lid and cook it on low for 8 to 10 hours. Carefully remove the squash using oven mitts and put it on a large plate or cutting board. Using a large, serrated knife, cut the cooked squash in half. Remove the seeds and set them aside. They can be roasted later just like pumpkin seeds. Use a fork to rake out the “noodle-like” strands of cooked squash.

Top your fake pasta with your favorite pasta sauce and serve. It’s also a great side dish with a little butter and pepper.

Healthy spaghetti squash dish

Baked Irish Apple Cabbage

I remember my mother adding an apple when she was cooking red cabbage. The sweetness added some nice balance to the meal. When I first came across this traditional Irish recipe, I was reminded of my mom’s German cooking. This baked cabbage was an instant hit at our house. It makes for a great side dish during the colder months.

  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 C apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 C bread crumbs
  • 6 T butter, melted

cabbagePreheat your oven to 350 F.

Boil your chopped cabbage in water for about 4 minutes. Drain it and set it aside.
Spray a 2 qt. casserole dish with a non stick cooking spray.

Layer half of the cabbage into the prepared casserole dish. Layer half of the apple slices over the top of the cabbage. Sprinkle half the sugar over the top of those 2 layers. Spread half of the bread crumbs over that.
Repeat the layers again ending with the last of the bread crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the top of the entire casserole. Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue baking an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

 

On St. Patrick's Day Everyone Can Be IrishOn St. Patrick’s Day Everyone Can Be Irish

St. Patrick’s Day gives us all an excuse to have some fun and eat delicious comfort foods.

Just thinking about corned beef, cabbage & soda bread give me goose bumps.  Those classic Irish dishes are among some of my favorite but it’s fun when you can find new recipes that make your tummy happy.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner I thought it would be nice to put together some recipes and crafts and create a kindle ebook to celebrate.

You’ll find delicious Irish food along with a bunch of crafts that your family will enjoy creating together.

And remember, with all Kindle ebooks, you don’t need a Kindle to download them. Amazon makes it easy to put right on your computer, laptop, or other e-reader or device. And the price is right, too!

http://www.amazon.com/St-Patricks-Everyone-Irish-ebook/dp/B00BS9LGJG

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips – Video Recipe

So you’ve bought a big bag of Kale and now what? You’ve added it to your favorite smoothie and enjoyed it as  a yummy avocado and kale salad, but there’s still half a bag or more leftover. Whatcha gonna do? Make kale chips of course. I shared my favorite recipe with you a few days ago. It was a simple version seasoned with just a little salt.

I’m about to bake up another batch of these yummy chips and did a little research into different seasonings. I came across this video on making salt and vinegar kale chips. I love this particular flavor combination in my regular chips so I had to give it a try. My kale bites are sitting on the counter right now. They’ve been drizzled in vinegar and I’m waiting for it to dry (as per the recipe below) before I move on to the next step in the recipe. Yes, it takes a little more time, but I’m sure it will be well worth it.

What’s your favorite seasoning or flavor combination for kale chips?