Friday, July 25, 2008

Hi! I'm Jill the next door neighbor

Amber is just so kind! I'm really not that great of a cook but I am trying.  My story in a nutshell is that my family eats like crap I'm slowly trying to change that.  My fridge and pantry were full of processed, fatty and just not good for you foods.  With the help of a few great chefs I decided I better kick myself in the butt and start cooking healthier for the sake of all of our health and my three boys poor wives of the future.  So I will post some of the WoWed recipes that I have tried and have been a complete success for picky eaters!  The great thing about all of these grains is that they are not only full of vitamins but they don't have a whole lot of taste to them so you can pretty much hide them in anything, it's really a no brainer, why wouldn't you do it! Here are a few recipes that I'm sure you will love.

WOW Nacho Supreme

2 cups Refried Beans (pressure cook and blend)

1 cup white bean


1 diced onion

1/2 Lb. Hamburger

1 cup red Quinoa

1 can diced tomato (blended or not)

1/2 pkg Taco seasoning

Salt to taste

Serve over tortilla chips top w/ cheese, sour cream, and lettuce

WOW Crepes

1 cup low-fat milk

3/4 cups whole wheat/spelt flour

1 large egg

1 additional egg white

1 Tablespoon sugar 

In a blender mix the milk and egg until well mixed, but stopping short of creating foam. Add flour, sugar and any spices you want to try and pulse until just mixed. The batter should be 

quite thin. Heat a lightly-greased medium skillet or crepe pan over medium head. The pan is ready when a drop of water dropped in the pan dances on the surface.

For each crepe, use 3 Tablespoons of batter. Immediately swirl the pan gently to distribute the batter in a very thin layer. Cook the crepe until the surface appears dry -- about 1 minute. 

Stack completed crepes on a plate with wax paper between each crepe to prevent sticking.

Fill crepes with you favorite filling. Roll and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lettuce Wraps

I love cooking Asian food. There are some important flavors that the majority of Asian foods require (at least at my house).

-Sesame oil
-soy sauce and/or Teriyaki sauce
-Hosin sauce

Lettuce wraps are pretty versatile- you can add pretty much any meat (or no meat) and whatever veggies you have on hand and as long as you chop everything about the same (small) size and season it properly they'll taste great. I feel pretty good about serving Asian food to my family since it's so full of veggies. Tonight I WoWed some chicken lettuce wraps and they got rave reviews from my toughest critics.

This is what I started with. Chicken breasts (I was in a hurry- so I used some leftover chicken from tacos two nights ago and supplemented it with frozen chicken breast pieces. Also, Yoshida sauce, a yellow and a red pepper, zucchini, green onions, thai sweet chili sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and tonight I added leftover brown rice, millet and red quinoa. Of course lettuce for the 'wrap' part. Usually I use romaine lettuce- but I've found that really iceberg works best for these.

These are really easy to make- but the chopping does take some time. I enlisted the help of Megan (okay- she begged me) to chop the chicken. Little side note- my kids BEG to help in the kitchen. I have speed and perfection issues when it comes to cooking and really struggle with letting them help. Megan usually has chicken issues- but after chopping the chicken tonight she was so excited to eat the food she helped make. I need to 'let go' more often. She really did a good job with it though- and even used a sharp knife!

The key is to cut the veggies/meat to the same size.

I decided to add some red onion as well. Also I poured the Yoshida sauce over the cut up chicken so it would absorb some flavor before cooking (also I had to cover up the taco seasoning). I also sprinkled it with ginger. If you have fresh ginger I suggest using that- but I didn't have any so I substituted with powdered ginger.

Look how pretty it looks in the pan!

Now of course you can make these without the grains- but these whole grains will fill you up and make it so your kids aren't begging for food 20 minutes after you finish dinner. Also- they're delicious!

I started with some Sesame Oil, heated it until it was liquid- then added the garlic, veggies and stir fried them until they were tender- then I added the chicken and grains and some more ginger and Yoshida sauce. I also added Hosin sauce.

When I first started experimenting with Asian food other then stir fry (which is one of my favorites still) it took me lots of searching and finally going to a specialty grocery store to find Hosin Sauce. Now it's relatively easy to find in the Asian section of most grocery stores.


Simply fill a lettuce leaf with some filling, roll like a taco and enjoy!

The critics say:
Ashley- "I'd give them five thumbs up if I had five thumbs!"
Megan- "These are the best! Can we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow?"
Annika (who wouldn't eat it as a wrap- but ate a couple pieces of plain lettuce and then the filling with a fork)- motioned two thumbs up.
Cori- Motioned two thumbs up- after she saw her sisters do it- but she ate three wraps.


P.S. We had our wraps with cherries.

Millet- not just birdseed anymore!

Millet is our next super grain!

Millet is a super grain- meaning that it is a complete protein. In many parts of the world millet is a staple, although in America it's primarily used as bird seed. Millet is easy to digest and is gluten free. Try adding cooked millet to casseroles for extra protein- and use less meat.

To prepare millet you can simmer it 1 part millet to 2.5 parts water for about 30 minutes (until water is absorbed). It's very soft and bland- which helps it blend into most foods seamlessly.

I cooked 1 cup of millet tonight and ended up with 5 cups of cooked millet.

1 cup of millet contains 284 calories, 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 7 mg calcium, 240 mg phospohorus., 1.5 mg iron, 3 g dietary fiber as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and potassium.


What's better then one awesome cook? Two awesome cooks! (We're humble too).

I'd like to welcome a new blogger to What's For Dinner. After spending the last week sharing food and discussing recipes (and being impressed with her skilz) I think that my neighbor Jill will be a fabulous addition here. So welcome Jill!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our First SUPER GRAIN! Quinoa

Quinoa (Keen-Wah)

Quinoa comes in three colors, white, red and black. The above picture is red quinoa. Quinoa is a super grain. What is a super grain you ask? Well it's a grain that contains all 8 of the essential amino acids to make it a complete protein. Quinoa also contains lysine, which wheat does not, as well as niacin, iron and potassium.

Quinoa is prepared by simmering in water 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water (1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water) until water is absorbed (about 12 minutes when I did it tonight).

The texture of quinoa is much like that of al dente pasta or of brown rice. In fact tonight I added quinoa to our brown rice and it was hart to tell. The flavor is a little 'nutty' and quite pleasant. A suggestion from the WoW class was replacing 1/2 the ground beef in a recipe with red quinoa.

See the quinoa? My kids saw it too- luckily they're pretty good about eating what they're given, and I've been so excited by this class that I've been talking about it practically non-stop since I've gotten home. Luckily my next door neighbor and friend is excited to and is willing to listen to me talk about how I've been incorporating things and give me tips/hints on better ideas.

I added quinoa into our pizza sauce last night (after blending you'd not even know it was there) and my husband even added some to a chocolate shake tonight. I've also added it to spanish rice.

I paid $2.65 a lb for quinoa at the health food store. I cooked up a cup of quinoa and used some of it tonight and put the rest into snack sized ziplocs and stuck it in the freezer where it's supposed to be good for 6 months.

More about quinoa

WoW your food!

I attended a cooking class this week that's got me all fired up about eating healthy. I think on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being only eating McDonald's to 10 being only eating food that we grow organically in the season that it's grown we probably rate a 6 on the 'healthy' scale. My kids eat fairly well and I cook (generally mostly from scratch) often. We usually have a selection of veggies and fruits with meals and my kids eat them. I sneak veggies into the main dish as well.

This class I attended was fabulous. The presenters discussed ways to lessen the meat that you serve your family and adequately replace the proteins with whole grains- in ways other then in bread! They discussed grains I'd never heard of, and some I had but didn't know the health benefits of. I paid a visit to the health food store and $50 later am ready to start some experimenting.

One of the presenters shared her powerful experience with changing her diet to a higher whole grain diet and it's direct effect on her health. The power of her story is amazing and I've asked her permission in sharing it- and if she approves I will.

I've struggled with a variety of physical ailments, auto immune diseases that seem to come and go without explanation (diseases that shouldn't go once they're diagnosed). My 5 (almost 6) year-old struggles with chronic constipation. If nothing else I'm hoping a diet higher in whole grains (besides wheat) will help her bowels function properly.

I have a tendency to go through phases, to get all excited and fired up- but this is EASY. That's the key. You cook your regular recipes and WoW it in order to up the fiber and the vitamins and minerals and your family won't even know! Wherever you're at you just do a little better.

I'm going to start by discussing some grains that I'm experimenting with- and sharing recipes- the old way and what I've done to Wow it. I'm excited. Hold on tight!