Lamb and Chickpea Stew

Lamb Beef and Chickpea Stew, page 167

I've been absent from here, but not absent from my kitchen OR The Feed Zone. Jonathan has been traveling, we traveled as a family for the Thanksgiving holiday and I even was able to go on a little trip last week too. Soccer has finished, Futsol has begun and we are in the early months of Odyssey of the Mind*. I love this season of Waiting and as the world seems to swirl with excitement and hustle, I'm trying to pause each day and be still. I'm successful some days and not so much others.

This recipe is perfect for a chilly day. It is warm and filling and rich and yummy! Chas even gave it a 5. Well, the meat part with rice. He avoided the onions and chickpeas. I knew I had a better chance of success with Chas if I used beef, so I purchased extra lean stew meat instead of lamb. If you are new here, you need to know that Chas is a bit of a plain rice and meat kiddo. It's ok, we have rice in our house almost always.
While I'm still on a bit of a tangent, here are two kitchen tools I use often. The top one is perfect for coating the pan with oil. My sweet friend in Boulder, Dita, gave it to me. I love it, but I love her more. And the ceramic knife, not a fancy one, is always sharp. Another friend, Jock, turned me onto ceramic knives when we were at his Rwanda home for dinner one night. He's the coach of the Rwandan cycling team. Make sure to check them out. SO proud of them. It's been heart warming to see the success they are having, after watching the years Jock and other have dedicated to the program. We {heart} Team Rwanda!

I added the spices to the meat as it cooked. I like to think it adds more flavor to the meat itself. Anyone know if this is true?
 I used large chunks of onion, so the non-onion-loving people in my family could remove them from their bowl and add them to mine.
I brew my own.
It tastes apple cider vinegar-y.
Simmer. Simmer. Simmer. This is the part where I had to add extra water. I didn't soak the bean overnight. I used chickpeas from the can.

I mentioned that I went on a little trip myself last week. I'll share more about it in the next post, but let's just say that I was able to meet some people I'd only communicated with in the cyber world and another that thought I'd only racing on television or in Triathlete, not chatting about our kids, products we like and past Australian politicians.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: lean beef instead of lamb & less onion
What I'll try next time: I'd like to try it with lamb, but only when I know I can either trick the boys or feed them something else
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 4
Chas: 5 (meat and rice only)
'becca: 4.5

*I coach, Chas is on a team and YOU score major points if you participated when you were in school. Any other OMers out there? Any of you go to world competition? I did. Not only am I a Nimrod, I'm a a bit of a nerd too. I try to wear it well.


Apple (Peach) Crisp

Apple (Peach) Crisp, page 256

Our family hopes you had a fun Halloween and enjoyed some treats and maybe even a few tricks. My boys woke to a hallway of fake spider webs and glow in the dark bugs to dodge on the floor. They made their way under the webs to the table for pancakes and vanilla steamers turned orange and then a trip to the dentist. Clean teeth for a sweet celebration. Yes. I am that mom.

Autumn is in full swing and the bins of apples are overflowing at the grocery & farmer's markets. Pick up a few extra and make this dish for a healthy, sweet treat this weekend. As expected, yes, it's delicious!
I made this GF. I typically don't use an all-purpose GF flour or bread mix as the recipe suggests. Instead, I mix my own, using flours I buy in bulk. Below you will see the mixture of flours I used. 
(clockwise top left) Mixing up the dry ingredients, grated butter added, smashing in the butter by hand, dry ingredients and butter mix
oat-flour-sugar-spices-butter mix and my very favorite apples ~ Honeycrisp. Ready to mix, then bake and eat. Yum!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Peaches, but I was making apple, so it worked out just perfectly.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: GF sub for 1/2 flour: 1/4 C rice flour, 1/4 C tapioca flour, 3 T almond meal. I reduced the butter from 1/2 C to 1/4 C (Remember I'm a momma not a pro, gotta make those cuts where I can, but never sacrificing taste or using margarine, always, always the real thing.)
What I'll try next time: Walnuts, I'll add walnuts and maybe even a mix of different apples, granny smith and honey crisp and gala.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 3.5
'becca: 4.5
Chas: 2.5


Orzo and Basil Salad

Orzo and Basil Salad, page 153

I do not have a single picture of this recipe. Instead I'm sharing one of our favorite treats and then I'll get to the recipe. This picture is from a recent food & wine pairing party we hosted. It's something I discovered a few years ago and have done my best to share with anyone willing to eat with me.
Extra Sharp White Cheddar and Honey
Have you tried it? Is is a favorite? Do you kids like it? What kind of cheese do you like best? Local honey? Lavender honey? Clover honey? Truffle infused honey? "Off the shelf does it really mater what kind" honey?
Please do tell, because I want to know. And really, I probably need to know.

On to Orzo and Basil...
I followed this recipe well. I used the suggestions for substitutions and some of the additions too. Only, I didn't eat any of it. I trusted Jonathan and Elliott and the empty bowl. I didn't eat any, because I used Orzo and I'm unable to eat the kind I had. I've not found a GF Orzo except online. I've not see it at my local grocery or at TJ's. Maybe I could try it with arborio rice? Gluten Free readers, what do you think? 

In the corner of page 153 the time given for this recipe is 10 minutes. It's quick FZ pals, very quick. Here's my hint, cook the Orzo in the morning when you are fixing this, put it in the fridge for the day and it'll be perfectly ready to mix with the other ingredients and be called dinner.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Not-A-Thing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: Nothing. Well, I used canned beans.
What I'll try next time: Use a GF pasta.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4.5
Elliott: 4


Pasta and Herb Soup

Pasta and Herb Soup, page 172

Exhibit 1)
 Exhibit 2)
 Exhibit 3)
 Exhibit 4)

By the time you viewed Exhibit 2, you could tell the changes had begun. I'm guilty. Guilty for not following the recipe as printed.

Defense: I had grape tomatoes that needed to be used, so I used them. All of them. My tomato use was far greater than the 1 tomato, chopped the recipe listed. I also used more onion and probably more veggies. That means I probably used more broth too. Would I still be considered guilty if I say I just doubled it?

Nope. Especially since we had it for dinner more than one night and lunches in-between.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: 1 single tomato
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: extra veggies, lotsa extra veggies. I used rice pasta, not wheat pasta to make it GF.
What I'll try next time: triple it?
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4.5
Elliott: 4
'becca: 4.5 (hot and cold)
Chas: to the left eating ham & a bread stick. He saw the tomatoes I put in it and made his decision before tasting. One day, one day, I keep telling myself.


Pasta Salad with Olives and Beets

 Pasta Salad with Olives and Beets, page 144

I love beets.
Elliott loves beets.
Jonathan tolerates beets.
Chas will not touch beets, but thinks the way they turn things, specific things, pink is awesome. 

I don't use the microwave often. Actually, we keep it in the garage, so it has never dawned on me to cook potatoes or root veggies this way. When I read the description of this recipe suggesting that the beets be cooked in the microwave, I chopped them, placed them in a glass bowl and into the garage I went. Six minutes later they were nearly finished. I'll use the microwave this way again. Thanks Chef Biju and Dr. Lim!

I was out of my favorite penne rice pasta from Trader Joe's, so I tried a new brand and it was swirly. I like swirly, it would work. Too bad it was just ok. I'm glad the boys have a soccer tournament in Kansas City in a few weeks. KC = TJ's I'll head to the Missouri side to stock up. Any of you know why I'll go to the MO side, not the KS side? Hint: it's not because it's closer to where the tournament is being played.

Beets, nuked & sauteed.
Pasta, boiled. 
Sauce to make. 
Elliott helped with this part. He placed the remaining ingredients into a bowl, mixing them well. As he chopped the olives, he popped a few in his mouth. Elliott is an olive, black olive, lover. Quickly he learned black kalamatas, taste a little different from the black olives he finds at Christmas dinner. You know, the kind you put on you fingers and chomp off one by one until your cheeks look like a chipmunk? "Ewwww!" He was not a fan. But he kept on stirring. 

We added the sauce to the beets and pasta, covering them well. This was pre-soccer, so I placed the pan in the oven until we got home. Actually, I ate a bowl before we left for the pitch. Delicious. I loved the zing of the mustard, olives and lime. 

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: lemon
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: lime for lemon and I did use Parmesan.
What I'll try next time: I'll try it with regular olives. I think Elliott would like it better this way.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 2.5, he liked the sauce, just tolerated the beets
'becca: 5, loved it!
Elliott: After the olive taste, he wasn't a fan.


Ham and Swiss Sandwich

Ham and Swiss Sandwich, page 42

Jonathan and I started a spin class this week. It's begins ten minutes after five o'clock in the morning. My alarm sounds at 4:33, giving me enough time to pull on clothes, clean my teeth and use the bathroom. I grabbed the water bottles I'd filled the night before (2 extra minutes of sleep saved) and drove to the gym. Isn't it completely natural, that marital bonding would happen on the spin bike?Who had this brilliant idea anyway? Mine, it was completely my idea. Yup, me, the one who made the call, pressed the numbers, handed over the debit card and BAM! just like that we were registered. As I'm questioning my brilliance, I'm also ready for lunch at 10:30 sharp. Please help, is this what happens at the end of triathlon season?

After an hour of flats and sprints, climbs and 2's and 3's and my desire to go aero, which is totally uncool in a spin class, I was hungry and all I had on my mind was this recipe. I'd seen it the day before & picked up the ingredients. When we got home, I walked in the door, woke Elliott, walked DandyDoodle and got to work.

Feed Zone Pals, it's easy. Super easy and so yummy and healthy and either FG* or GF** depending on how you fix it.

 I fully intended to get ham from deli, but forgot. I had to stop at Sam's later in the day, so I picked up a package of Black Forrest Ham there. Not freshly sliced, but it worked.

This is FG sourdough. I cooked it on both sides, then topped it with the Swiss for a few minutes to melt. Next, I added the ham before transferring it to a plate, topping it with kale and then the eggs. For mine I used Udi's Millet-Chia bread. It's my favorite.

I was in Chicago last week. I knew it would be a wild week for Jonathan. Chas was headed to Mexico, Elliott had student council early and soccer in the evenings, school drop off and pick up, lunches to pack, breakfast and dinner to make...the list continues. I knew Jonathan could handle it and with no trouble he did. He even discovered at Walmart they had a package of 40 Eggo Waffles for under $7.

This is why I love him. He knows what our boys like, ex: waffles for breakfast, and he know exactly what he can handle. He knew making waffles like I do, from scratch, 2 at a time in the waffle iron, would not be possible, but he wanted to give them a breakfast they loved. So he did. Just in a different way. I share this to let you know instead of a Ham and Swiss Sandwich with a poached egg, Elliott wanted waffles. And not the waffles I fix.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: Sauteed kale for salad greens, poached the eggs instead of over easy, skipped the mayo
What I'll try next time: I think I'd keep it the same. Maybe if it was fixed for lunch, I'd use salad greens and keep them raw & add mayo.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 5
'becca: 5 (x5 that's how many times I could have eaten it that morning)
Elliott: waffles and fake syrup. (not only do our boys love Eggo, they also prefer Mrs. Butterworth's to Maple.

*FullaGluten **Gluten Free for those who may be new. I'm GF, but my family is FG. I make it work when I can and share with you how, just in case you are in the same situation.


Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos, page 130

I cut the chicken into small chunks in the morning before leaving the house. I added the onion, chiles, spices and lime juice to the mix, stirred it, then placed it in the refrigerator for the day. 
It should come as no surprise that this was an after soccer dinner and having the chicken ready to put in the skillet helped me fix dinner quickly. I'd also set a delay on the rice cooker, knowing that it would be ready just as soon as we were ready to eat. Making sure that I do preparation for dinner earlier in the day, if I am able, gives us more time around the table before teeth are cleaned, prayers are said and we drift into dreams. 

What helps you? I'm always looking for new ways that will give me an extra few minutes of "table time" with my boys. It's the best part of my day. I'm a complete failure at meal planning. Wait, usually*, mostly, ok almost always, I'm a complete failure at meal planning. I'm an almost daily grocery shopper. I do better when a recipe has pictures, than detailed instructions and my imagination. If I see a recipe tweet in my stream or thumb through a new magazine or it's Wednesday and the Food section is in the newspaper, I'll scrap the scheduled meal on the plan, I mean if I had one, and make what sounds good. Thus the reason for my daily trip to the grocery.

So, what about you? Do you plan for the week? Month? Do you see what The Pioneer Woman is fixing on her ranch? Do you grocery shop daily or a few times a week or do a giant shop at Sam's for the month? I'd love to know. 

A quick apology for my absence lately. Currently I have 4 recipes ready to share, but I need to add the photos & details. I'm working on it today. 

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: 2 mild green chiles
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I used a can of small diced green chilies, I marinated the meat in the spices, onion and chiles.
What I'll try next time: I didn't make the spicy slaw this evening. I've made it before and can see how well the two would pair together. When I make it again, I'll make the two together.
How it Scored:
Yes -- FIVE's all around the table.

*When Jonathan travels, I scrap the daily trips to the grocery & meal plan. We have quesadillas.
Chicken. Cheese. Bean. Chicken & cheese. Cheese and bean. Chicken, cheese and bean. Chicken and Greek yogurt. Chicken, Greek yogurt & bean.  Ground turkey or beef or venison. Except no more venison. We've finished what we were given last year by my brother-in-law and this Nimrod family, we are not hunters. Don't even own a gun. If you like to hunt and have extra, I'll pay processing.


Flatiron Steak with Mustard Sauce

Flatiron Steak with Mustard Sauce, page 237
(photos will do the talking)

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: Would you believe me if I told you I made it the way the recipe told me to make it? I did.
What I'll try next time: I'm not sure. I'm up for suggestions. Have you tried this recipe? How did you like it? Did you follow the recipe or make any changes?
How it Scored:
All around the table -- 3


Bison with Spice Rub

Bison with Spice Rub, page 244

Bison isn't readily available in Northwest Arkansas, but beef certainly is. Must I be a bison farmer or know one to get it with ease? No wait, I need to live in the West, not the South. That would probably help.
{Quick tangent -- I knew I'd moved to the south when they served more sweet tea at church than coffee. I'll keep my opinion about that to myself, but it's how I knew.} 

I used a beef tenderloin in place of the bison and rubbed it in the morning, allowing it to sit most of the day before cooking. Below you can see that I used a dutch oven for cooking on the cook-top. This made it easy to place in the oven to finish. 
If you are looking at a new way to season meat, give this a try. It's super easy and gives a unique flavor to the meat. And guess what? CHAS LOVED IT!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing, well Bison.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: Beef for Bison
What I'll try next time: Find a Bison Farmer
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 4
'becca: 4
Chas: five, FIVE, 5!


Rustic Pepper and Tomato Soup

Rustic Pepper and Tomato Soup, page 175

Absolutely fantastic and cheery and bright. 
Love it!

Isn't it pretty? Onions, orange and yellow peppers, grape tomatoes cut in two with a little olive oil for shine and no stick. 

Soup, as a main dish at our table, doesn't often satisfy the bellies of the Nimrod fellas. Especially on a soccer night and this was a soccer night dinner. There has been a slight chill in the air as Autumn is upon us and soup was what I wanted for dinner. I had to tweak this recipe into a hearty soup in order to pull it off. 

I had all the ingredients I needed, plus a couple of strip steaks. Perfect, I'd thinly slice the steaks and add them to the soup, making it a bit more filling. Oh and I could serve it on top of brown rice. The addition of Tamari (GF soy sauce) and brown sugar sets this recipe apart from other tomato pepper soups I've made or had in the past. You've got to give it a try. 

I rubbed the steaks with a bit of brown sugar and salt before slicing and adding to the pepper, tomato mix. The steak had great flavor, complimenting and being complimented by the other ingredients. 

I also made Gluten Free drop biscuits, because I wanted bread. My boys, even Chas loved them and didn't realize they were GF until they noticed I was eating them too. No problem, Chas kept on eating his, as Elliott's dripped with honey.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: grape tomatoes for roma, steak, rubbed with brown sugar and kosher salt and extra wine. Always extra wine.
What I'll try next time: Double it!
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
'becca: 5
Elliott: 4
Chas: 4 for the meat and broth over rice.


Sweet Potato and Egg Burritos

Sweet Potato and Egg Burritos, page 55

 I peel, chop and boil potatoes to make smashed potatoes. How do you do it? Boil whole w/ peel, then cool, peel and smash? Every Thanksgiving it's the question. Apparently, I do it wrong.
 Have you had Chardonnay and cantaloupe this summer? If not, you should. Yummy on a hot afternoon and great snack as you cook. Oh and I met the owner of this vineyard. He was in Arkansas, no wait just across the border in Missouri. Did you know that "dry" counties still exist? Well they do. I live in one. Back to the owner, he was pleasant. He shared the story of his family and their years of wine making. I purchased nearly a case and he signed the bottles.
I'm quite distracted today as I share this recipe; tangent here, tangent there. Not only did I eat and drink as I cooked, I watched Julie and Julia. It took me much longer than 20 minutes to make this meal. I was also making page 70. I make those weekly.

You know I've never watched the film in its entirety. Gasp, but I have seen Julia's kitchen at the Smithsonian. I took my picture with my phone standing in front of it. I'd probably do the same in Biju's kitchen.
 I added my favorite spice to the meat. It goes so well with sweet potatoes, I just had do.
 Dang, he's cute. That's my husband, after a long day at triathlons, sitting down to breakfast for dinner.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: I had it all + some
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I used ground turkey sausage, because it has less fat and is more breakfast-y, which is good for a breakfast for dinner meal. I added some mixed baking spices to the meat, left out the cheese and used tamari instead of liquid amino acids. To make it GF I prepared a side of quinoa and made mine into a little bowl, not a burrito.
What I'll try next time: Have some corn tortillas to enjoy mine.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 5
Chas: 3 (meat in tortilla only)
Ian, our guest: I didn't ask him for a number, but he had seconds, so I'm guessing at least a 4
'becca: 5, loved it!

Not a FZ recipe, but it looked like one. Sticking to my randomness today I thought I'd share it.


Spanish Chicken and Tomato Stew

Spanish Chicken and Tomato Stew, page 159

 Love it when I am able to find local produce. We live near the Missouri state line, so these are kinda local, right?
 I considered using diced green chilies, but decided to leave them out, using extra bell peppers instead.
 I seasoned the chicken the way my mother in law does -- salt, pepper and at least an hour or 2 on the counter top covered with a towel and then cooked it. I've always been cautious when cooking chicken, not leaving it out too long and washing all areas well after. After the compliment I received from Jonathan and knowing his mom has cooked this way for years and is still alive, I thought I'd be a little more risky.

I guess only time will tell. Are you risky with food prep at home? What about eating as you travel? We as a whole tend to be risky eaters in foreign lands and less risky at home. Just last week, Chas said, I sure would like to have some of the goat brochettes we buy on the roadside heading form Kigali to Musanze {in Rwanda} and their potatoes too. I do too Chasie, I do too.
I needed something green. After the stew was cooked, the beans were added, I turned the flame off, topped it with spinach and placed the lid on the pot. I allowed it to sit until the boys returned from soccer, I waited on the rice to finish & made a side of quinoa.

Energy exploded through the door, stinky soccer boys showered and again at 8pm, we sat down to dinner as a family. I think we have found a routine that will still allow meals together, it's just going to have to be late for a few months. I'll take it anyway I can get it.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: chorizo or Italian sausage, chile peppers
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I used chicken sausage in place of the other sausage and added spinach for some green. Oh and I added the white beans too.
What I'll try next time: I'd like to try chorizo and also the chilies. I also think the apple cider vinegar would add a nice flavor.
How it Scored:
'becca: 5
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 4
Chas: 4, meat only and some broth over rice

 I went on tri* state, half iron distance bike ride on Monday with my FF. He'd just received a new order from Skratch and brought me a sticker. How do my pals have cool SkratchLabs schwag and I don't? I saw a sticker on the roof rack of another friend that same day. Maybe that's what I get for buying in bulk & saving the shipping when I stopped by their office in May. What Skratch schwag do you have? Where do you show it off? It may seem odd, but really it's an honor to be on the inside of the cabinet door, just above my cookbook stand. I promise.

*Arkansas to Missouri to Oklahoma and back to Arkansas