Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken Muffins

This is one of our favorites the kids take them to school for snack daily. You can start making them once you get into stage 4 and can bake. It sounds odd but they remind me of a chicken mayonnaise salad in a muffin. This is a super way to use leftovers and really anything can be put in these. I change the ingredients all the time. If I have extra chicken or veggies to add I just add another egg or two. They work well in a muffin tin but you can all scoop them out like biscuits on a making sheet.

Chicken Muffins

2 cups sautéed/boiled/cooked veggies, onion, garlic
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ cup fat any mixture of ghee, duck, or left over cooking fat
1 lbs 3-4 cups cooked chicken or chicken skin, odd parts, and pieces

Place all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and blend well. Slowly add in the chicken about 1 cup at a time. Blend the mixture until smooth after each addition. Your batter should be thick like a muffin batter. It does not have to be perfect I have made them both a bit thin and a bit thick and it always works out. Scoop the batter into muffin tins (I use stone and do not need to grease them)  or if it is thick enough just scoop out onto a baking stone. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for about 50 min. they are done when the tops are golden and any cracks look dry.

An note on ingredients-
Veggies- When I am cooking veggies I often make a lot of extra and then pack it in the fridge in 2 cup containers. These have worked well with all combinations of veggies and I have even put in some uncooked veggies when I do not have cooked ones on hand. A good starting point would be an onion, 3 cloves garlic, zucchini, broccoli, or beans. 

Fat- I have used straight ghee in these but I have also used combinations of duck fat, chicken fat skimmed from broth, grease from cooking sausages. I am sure butter would work as well.

Chicken- I started this recipe to use up the chicken from stock making. I like to use the skin and odd pieces first and then add in the rest of the chicken meat.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Energy Bites

I have been making a double batch of these every week. They are the top picked snack for my sons and are great for travel, unless it is a super hot day. Adding more dried fruit and decreasing the coconut oil can help them stay together in the heat. We make different flavor combinations every week the possibilities are endless.

Fruit Energy Bites
1 cup nuts or seeds
1 cup dried fruit
¼ cup coconut oil

In a food processor finely grind the nuts or seeds. Add all the other ingredients including any add ins. Blend everything together until it clumps into one ball. Press the mixture into a loaf pan. We use a rectangular glass pyrex for storing ours. Place the pan in the fridge to firm up. Once firm cut into bars or squares to the desired size. Store in the fridge.

Optional add ins
2 tbs coco powder
2-3 tbs nut butter
1-3 tbs honey
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ banana
3 tbs Chia or Flax seeds
½ cup oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp flavor extract

 Dried Fruit Ideas

Nuts/ Seed Ideas 
sunflower seeds

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagna

We love butternut squash (well at least my daughter and I do). Two years ago we tried growing it on trellises and found it was not only supper easy but we got a ton of them. There are a lot of ways we use this sweet creamy squash but one of my favorites is this lasagna. My daughters favorite is homemade raviolis! This is a great meal for the holidays we had it at Christmas since it can be put together before the big day and just popped in the oven. 

Like most lasagnas this one has three layers which can all be made at separate times and then put together when ready. Making your own ricotta cheese in a crock pot is super easy (and much cheaper then store bought) it requires only two ingredients, milk and lemon juice. My instructions for ricotta can be found here.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
9 Lasagna Noodles*

1 Butternut Squash
1 tbs chopped fresh sage, bay, or basil leaves or a combination.
3 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs

¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
Pinch of nutmeg and sage, bay, or basil

Wash the squash and place the entire uncut squash in a 400º preheated oven on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-90 min depending on the size of the squash. It is done when a knife easily slides through it. Let cool before removing the skin and deseeding. Chop up the flesh and place it in a blender or food processor to puree. 
Mix the squash puree, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and spices together in a large bowl. Refrigerate mixture until ready to assemble. 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour and spices and stir to cook for about 1 min. Pour all of the milk into the pan and whisk to incorporate all the flour.  Continue to stir until the sauce thickens this could take about 5 min. 

To Assemble
This works well in one 13x9 inch dish or two       inch dishes. Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish and place noodles in a single layer on top of the sauce. Place a layer of filling and then a layer of cheese on the noodles. Continue with another layer of sauce, noodles, filling, and cheese. I usually make 2-3 layers depending on how deep my dish is. End with a layer of noodles, then cover with sauce and sprinkle on a bit more cheese. 

To Bake
Place lasagna in a 375°F preheated oven for 30-40 min or until the sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven and keep covered in foil for 5 more min before serving.

To Freeze  
Before baking the lasagna can be frozen for later use. Place a cover over the top of the dish and freeze for use later. When you are ready to eat the lasagna take it out of the freezer and cover the dish with foil. Bake in a 450°F oven for 40-50 min or until the sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven and keep covered in foil for 5 more min before serving. 

*I find if you leave the lasagna covered with foil during the entire cook time and for 5 min after removing from the oven you do not have to preboil packaged noodles. If you are using homemade noodles then you can remove the foil for 5-10 min at the end of the cook time to brown the cheese on top.