Ranchero Style White Beans

These beans were the best and most full of flavor I have ever made at home. I have now eaten them for leftovers for way-too-many meals but they still taste great!

2 Cups dried white Navy beans (for GAPS diet. Otherwise, you can Pinto or other beans)
1 onion, divided
5 garlic cloves
1-2 strips of bacon*
1 tomato
1 jalapeño
1/2 cup cilantro
salt, to taste
cumin, to taste

Soak white beans overnight in a pot covered with water (beans expand so use enough water).

Dump bean soaking water and rinse beans. Add beans to crock pot or pan and cover with about double (or more) the amount of water. Rough chop 1/2 an onion and 5 garlic cloves. Cook beans in crock pot or on stove until cooked through. I cooked mine on high in the crock pot for about 6 hours and they were perfectly smushy.

Chop bacon and cook on Medium in a skillet until done. Remove strips but leave fat in the pan. Add 1/2 minced onion and minced jalapeño pepper (with or without seeds depending on desired heat level) cook 5-10 minutes until soft. Add diced tomato until cooked down a little.

Add bacon back in and then add beans to bacon-onion-jalapeno skillet and mix all ingredients together. Add 1/2 cup cilantro and refry over medium heat and smash with a potato masher until as smooth as you like them. Add reserved bean cooking water if needed and even more fat if needed so they aren’t dry.

Add salt to taste and a little cumin to taste.

 

*Bacon isn’t on the GAPS diet, so use another fat like butter or pork fat or whatever healthy fat you can use (i.e. not Canola or hydrogenated lard or margarine).

 

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Weekly Dish: Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Blue Cheese is a great dressing for those summer salads. Not everyone can do creamy, however, so here is a recipe for a light and healthy, summery vinaigrette.
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Whisk vinegar, mustard and oil together. Add cheese. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Variations: add minced shallots and fresh garlic.

Weekly Dish: Best-Stir Fry Ever!

Wow, this meal was incredible. It is a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, slightly adapted. The thing I love most about it, besides the fact that it’s the best stir fry I’ve ever tasted, is that it is a no-waste meal… using even the stems of the swiss chard!

Swiss Chard, Snap Peas & Beef Stir Fry (A.K.A. Best Stir Fry Ever!)

4 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil (NO vegetable oil or Canola oil)
6 ounces sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1-2 T soy sauce or Liquid Aminos
Real salt
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon hot chili paste/sauce (such as Sriracha or Sambal Oelek)
6 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 lime

1. Thinly slice steak and sprinkle soy sauce over it to season lightly or season with Real salt to avoid soy. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Cook steak, stirring until beef is golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

2. Add another Tablespoon oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add garlic, ginger, scallions, chile sauce, peas, and 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss chard stems (remove and tear leaves into 2-inch pieces and reserve). Cook, stirring often, until snap peas are bright green and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with beef.

3. Add another Tablespoon oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add half of Swiss chard leaves and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with beef and veggies and repeat with remaining Tablespoon oil and chard.

4. Return everything to pan, heat briefly, and season with salt. Squeeze with lime juice, toss to coat, and serve immediately.

Other variations: Add onion, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, hot peppers, chicken, bok choy, tomatoes, roasted cashews. This dish could probably take anything you could think to throw into it.

Serve with brown rice, quinoa, or brown rice noodles.

Tip: Have your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking as stir frying moves fast! Don’t put too many things in the pan at once; they will steam instead of stir-fry!

Weekly Dish: Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs

Here I am with another soup recipe. And another soup recipe from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, at that. This one was delightfully different and tasty enough to make it on another menu somewhere in the near future.

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs

Meatballs:
1 pound ground organic dark-meat chicken
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon real salt or celtic sea salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice

Soup:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
real salt or celtic sea salt
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
2 large celery stalks, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
8 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 lime, cut into quarters, for garnish

To make the meatballs, combine the chicken, ginger, garlic, parsley, salt, cayenne, egg, and rice in a bowl and mix with your hands or a spatula until well combined. Don’t overwork the mixture or the meatballs will be tough.

Wet the palms of your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick, roll it into 1-inch balls, and place them on the prepared pan.

To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue sauteing for about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and another 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, then gently transfer half of the meatballs into the simmering broth. (You can refrigerate or freeze the remainder to use later or make a double pot of soup like I did so that I could use them all.) Cover and allow the meatballs to simmer for around 1 hour, until the rice is tender.)

Add the peas and spinach and cook for 3 minutes more, then stir in parsley and basil. Serve each bowl garnished with a wedge of lime.

Variation: You can always make the meatballs without rice as the binder. Add a little onion and maybe an extra egg and you’ll be fine without it. Or if you’re comfortable using breadcrumbs or raw oats, do that. You can also use cooked rice and then you won’t have to simmer the meatballs in the soup as long.

Weekly Dish: Thai It Up Chicken Soup

Wow, this soup has restaurant quality. I had two bowls and would have had a shameful third, but my stomach couldn’t handle any more broth…

This recipe is adapted from a new cookbook I have found, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen. Real food doesn’t have to taste like “health food”. This cookbook has gone four for five in my kitchen. Not bad stats. I have adapted the recipes to my food philosophy (Weston A. Price Foundation, traditional foods, properly preparing grains, etc…).

Here is the recipe, in all its glory:

Thai It Up Chicken Soup

8 cups homemade chicken stock
2 shallots, or 1 small red or white onion, peeled and halved
6 1-inch pieces of un-peeled fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon real salt or celtic sea salt
15 oz. coconut milk (not low-fat)
2-3 cups already cooked brown rice or already-cooked brown rice noodles
1 cup peeled and finely chopped carrot
pinch of cayenne
2 organic chicken breasts, cut into slices or chunks (optional: add more or less depending on your broth-stuff ratio in soups)
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
2 Tablespoons sliced scallion, for garnish

Combine the broth, shallots or onions, ginger, lemongrass, lime zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out all the solids and discard. Stir in the coconut milk and continue to simmer, being careful not to boil, for another 10 minutes.

Stir the carrot and cayenne into the soup, simmer for 3 minutes, then add the chicken and simmer for an additional 7 minutes, until chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Stir in the rice, lime juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serve garnished with cilantro and scallion.

Variation: For an extra immune booster, add 1 cup of stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms when you add the chicken.

Weekly Dish: Greek Salad

I love salads and could maybe eat them for every meal. There are so many possibilities! Here is one of my favorites:

Greek Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 Cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 Cup Kalmata olives
1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
1 Cup cherry or grape tomatoes, or 1 tomato, chopped
1/2 Cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
Grilled or pan-fried chicken breast, chopped or sliced (optional)

Dressing:

1 Tablespoon homemade chicken stock
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
6 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cloves crushed garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon real salt or celtic sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Weekly Dish: Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

We are in cold weather season (where the heat from dinner cooking in the oven is welcome), this makes a great winter meal. It is delicious. So delicious, I could eat plates and plates of it. And maybe I have…

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

12 whole wheat noodles or brown rice noodles (or 8- or 9-ounce package)*

Ricotta mixture:
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

6 cups homemade tomato sauce:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon oregano
dash of crushed red pepper

Mushroom/Spinach mixture:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound assorted mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, thoroughly squeezed dry

1 pound whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (4 cups)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook pasta in boiling water until just underdone, about 4-5 minutes. (You can also use no-boil noodles here if you are so inclined.)

Make the filling: Mix the ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, pepper until well combined.

Make sauce: Heat oil in dutch oven. Saute onion in the oil until completely softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 10-30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes and spices and cook about 15 minutes.

Make mushroom/spinach mixture: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 minced garlic gloves and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over bottom of 9×13 dish. Place 3 noodles on top of sauce and drop 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle, then spread out evenly. Sprinkle a third of the mushroom and spinach mixture over each layer of ricotta. Sprinkly evenly with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat layering two more times.

For the final layer, place the 3 remaining noodles on top. Spread the remaining sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and then the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Spray a large sheet of foil lightly with olive oil spray and cover the lasagna. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations: You can also make this as a simple cheese lasagna or with meat.

*If possible, find sprouted whole wheat or whole grain noodles.