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Category Archives: Sides

Mayonnaise

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One of my parishioners is also following a paleo diet and she shared how to make mayonnaise with me. Shout out to Sandra! I use this for a variety of things- to make salad dressings, making coleslaw (I’ll post that soon), and of course as a simple condiment. It really is crazy easy if you follow this method and it is full of healthy fats. I know, I know, how could mayonnaise be healthy but truly it isn’t bad if you make your own.

The trick to making mayonnaise is using an immersion blender. Technically you can make it in a plain old blender or even a food processor but I find that it doesn’t thicken as well and it takes longer. The picture in this post was made with my blender and it just isn’t as pretty, though it is great for a salad dressing. With an immersion blender you have fewer dishes (just make it in a wide mouthed mason jar) and it comes together in about 30 seconds- no joke! This is just about fool proof. If raw eggs make you squeamish (sure, you don’t eat cookie dough or brownie batter, whatever) you can use pasteurized eggs. Also, use a “light tasting” olive oil. The flavor of a strong olive oil will really come through. And that’s coming from someone who loves olive oil. Okay, let’s get started!

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Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup olive oil (use the light tasting kind- trust me)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

I use a wide mouthed canning jar but use whatever you have. Place all your ingredients into the jar. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture without moving the blender until the mixture begins to thicken; about 20 seconds. Once your mayonnaise has started to thicken move the blender around to incorporate all the oil.

Want to make Ranch dressing? Add ½ tsp. (ish) each of onion powder, dill, dried mustard, and garlic. This ain’t a science, folks, go with your gut.

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Fried Rice

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Maybe you do a better job of keeping lunch staples around your home- myself? Not so much. And so while standing in the doorway to my pantry (starving) this fried rice was born. You could definitely use some other vegetables, this is simply what I had on hand. Also, I used brown rice but any rice would work. In other words, this is a base recipe that can be used to make many variations. Remember: baking is a science; cooking is an art. No rules, baby!

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Fried Rice

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. cooked rice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. peas
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

In a large skillet, heat oil; add garlic.  Add cooked rice; cook until heated through.

Stir eggs into rice; cook 30 seconds. Add peas and soy sauce; cook 2 minutes or until eggs are cooked and peas are heated through.

Cole Slaw

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As you know, it has been pretty warm here in Iowa so my oven is getting a little break from its usual workout. The grill on the other hand… well it is making up for a long winter hibernation. With all these steaks, burgers and other great grill treats you need some veggies and sides. Enter cole slaw. I know, I know, who makes cole slaw at home? I do! And being rather picky in the field of cole slaw that is no small thing. Cole slaw, like mashed potatoes, must be just so or it isn’t even worth my time.

This recipe is “supposedly” the same recipe as KFC. It tastes similar, in fact, I would argue better. But you decide. Just a couple of things: If you are lazy like me you might just buy bagged cabbage and carrots. If you do that, it is about two bags of cole slaw “mix” for this recipe. Also, this recipe gets better with time so keep that in mind when planning when to serve it.

Cole Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 cups finely grated cabbage (about 1 head)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots (about 1 carrot)

Combine chopped cabbage and carrots in large bowl. Mix together mayo, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over cabbage and carrots. Toss until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Stuffed Mushrooms

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Every time I turn around “they” have changed their minds about what is good for you and what is bad for you. For instance, the poor egg probably has whiplash from being a good guy, then a bad guy, and now a good guy again. Mushrooms are no different. Apparently, they are good for you now. Well, you know me. I can take anything healthy and make it more delicious and deadly. Like stuffing a perfectly healthy mushroom with cream cheese and bacon. Don’t get proud, you know it sounds amazing. And it is. I had some leftover bacon from breakfast earlier in the week and white button mushrooms were on sale at the grocery store. Hello, stuffed mushrooms!

This is a made-up-as-I-go recipe so feel free to tweak as you feel necessary. As with all cooking, the baking time is an approximation… trust your nose! Also, do NOT wash your mushrooms. I know that sounds strange and even a little dirty but wet mushrooms=soggy mushrooms. Just wipe them off with a damp towel.

Stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms (I buy the prepackaged white button mushrooms)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • bacon, cooked (set some aside when you make bacon for another purpose, I used about 3-4 slices)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Wipe mushrooms with a damp towel. Carefully remove their stems. Process cream cheese, bacon and garlic in food processor. Add salt and pepper as desired. Fill each mushroom with a generous amount of cream cheese mixture. Bake until browned, about 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Salsa

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When we lived in Chicago, my husband and I would walk to Chili’s all the time. In fact, a whole group of us in seminary would go there to get their endless chips and salsa and their margaritas. A whole lot of life’s problems were solved (or at least explored) over those chips and margaritas. Not to mention some of the more complicated theological theories. I miss those trips like crazy!

Chili’s has very distinct salsa to which no jar could possibly compare. This salsa recipe is the closest I have found. It has a very fresh flavor. A couple things: rinse your onions in cold water before using them in this salsa so they won’t be so overpowering. Also, you could use more or fewer jalapenos based on your preference. Mix up a batch, a pitcher of margaritas, gather a few friends and explore/solve the world’s issues!

Salsa

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, drained
3 jalapenos (remove the seeds)
1/4 c. onion, cut into quarters
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lime juice

Place all of the ingredients together into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.

Lemon Garlic Potatoes

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I grew up in a household where potatoes were a staple dinner item. There was always a meat, a potato, a vegetable and salad. Hey, it’s the Midwest. I still have that in the recesses of my brain somewhere… it just isn’t dinner if there isn’t a potato! These potatoes are some of my favorites. They’re easy and delicious. Come on, anything swimming in garlic, butter and lemon is amazing. That’s why I love escargot.

Now, the fancy way to make these is to use those cute little baby potatoes. If I’m making them just for us I use whatever potatoes I have on hand. That’s either red or white (I don’t believe in russets because I have to peel them). Besides, you’re supposed to leave the peels on because that is the healthy part. So, there. I’m not lazy, I’m health conscious.

Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds potatoes, chopped
½ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons garlic, minced (I usually use 2 or 3 cloves)
1 teaspoons salt
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in an 8” x 8” baking dish. In a small bowl combine butter, garlic, salt and lemon juice. Pour over potatoes and stir to coat. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over potatoes. Bake covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas! For clergy-folk the holiday season doesn’t really begin until Christmas services end. This year was crazier than usual with Christmas falling on Sunday and a big funeral on Friday. Yes, that makes three services and three sermons in three days. Needless to say I’m more than a little behind on my holiday baking *sigh*. So it was with great excitement that I scurried to the kitchen after returning home from Christmas morning service and opening presents with the hubs and the babe. While they napped and played with new presents I closeted myself with the scent of chocolate and my mixer!

So, what was the menu for Christmas dinner? This year we celebrated Christmas with all the family the two weekends before Christmas so it was just our little family for Christmas dinner. That meant no large, ridiculous dishes that I would normally be drawn to. Let’s be honest, I can’t cook for fewer than four. This year I went with roast duck, roast potatoes, ginger carrots, yeast rolls, and the mandatory buche de noel. Hey, Christmas is no time for healthy. Butter and cream, folks. I’m like Paula Deen without the accent or hair.

Normally I would decorate the buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms and chocolate truffles but they just didn’t get made this year. Ah, well maybe next year. Click here for the recipe.

 

I know the title of my blog is “breaking bread with Meg” but in reality I’m pretty lazy when it comes to baking bread. I have a deep love and appreciation for my bread-maker, it makes my life and marriage much easier. No matter what I cook if I have a pan of these rolls around my very picky husband is happy. Here’s the recipe.

Okay, so the picture isn’t the most flattering shot of a spud but trust me, these are delicious. And they’re easy. Win, win. We can forgive them for not being photogenic. Here’s the recipe. The recipe calls for vegetable oil but I’m an olive oil girl myself. I also lined my baking sheet with parchment paper because these potatoes tend to stick.

I have a confession, I LOVE dark meat. And duck rocks my world. How, you ask, does one convince a picky eater husband to eat duck? Well, kids, it is just a chicken that swims. I stuffed my duck with clementines because I had them sitting around but any citrus would work. I also dusted and doused it (generously) with poultry seasoning, garlic, pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with a duck. Just remember, they only feed about two people per bird. Here’s the basic recipe.