Vegetables

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Wasabai Mashed Potatoes 3

Do you ever get tired of eating plain old mashed potatoes? No? Me either. I love them. I rarely make them because they always seem like so much work when I get home and need to make dinner. When I do make them, I suddenly remember why they were my favorite food for a good portion of my teens. Who can resist the creaminess? Despite my love of classic mashed potatoes, sometimes they need a little zest.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Wasabai Mashed Potatoes

Enter Wasabi Powder. Just a little of this green stuff adds a beautiful tang and zest to regular mashed potatoes. When I first made them, I did not add the sour cream. I think the sour cream is necessary to cut the bitterness of wasabi. It makes the mashed potatoes extra creamy and satisfying.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Wasabai Mashed Potatoes 2

These are the perfect side to braised meat. They cut the richness and add a little zip.

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salt
  • milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 2-3 teaspoons wasabi powder
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • pinch garlic powder
  • ground pepper
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Instructions

In a four quart pot, add the potatoes and fill with water about 2 inches above the potatoes. Salt the water so it is about as salty as the sea. Cook on high until the potatoes start to break apart when pierced with a fork Drain.

Return the potatoes to the pan and mash with a potato masher. Add remaining ingredients combining the milk a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Serve immediately.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Orange Chicken and Broccoli

Let’s talk stir fry. It it is probably the perfect meal. Especially for a week night. Seriously. What other meal can you pull together in under 20 minutes with protein and a mixture of veggies? It is healthy and can taste different everyday depending on sauce, veggie, and protein combinations. We could probably survive on stir fry. There was a week over the summer, while we were living with my parents, where we had stir fry everyday at my mom’s request. It was ALOT of stir fry, but I was able to make them all taste different, and they all were fantastic.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Fried Rice 5

I developed this stir fry recipe on Friday because our little friends declared that they like chicken and broccoli in their stir fry. I know that kids like things like general tso’s chicken because it is a little sweet and savory. I decided to use orange juice as a flavoring and sweetener in the dish to appease a child’s palate.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Orange Chicken and Broccoli

This turned out so good, I made it again on Sunday to make an official recipe and share it with you. It makes fantastic leftovers and includes enough sauce for people who love extra sauce poured over rice (I know I do).

Orange Chicken and Broccoli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

    For the Sauce

    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, not packed
    • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (I use light)
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon corn starch
    • red chili flakes to taste
    • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

    For the Stir Fry

    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, thinly sliced in bite sized pieces
    • 2 bags frozen broccoli florets (10 ounces each) or 1 bag fresh broccoli florets (12 ounce bag)
    • Sauce
    • Salt to taste

    Instructions

    For the Sauce

    Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

    For the Stir Fry

    Heat a wok or late skillet until water sprinkled in the pan evaporates immediately. Add half of the oil and cook the chicken until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

    Add the remaining oil. Add broccoli and cook until tender. Return the chicken to the pan and add the sauce. Cook until the sauce gets thick. Serve with rice or noodles.

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    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad

    We have been working so hard on the house. I can’t believe we have lived here a whole month. We are in a strange place where it feels like home, all comfy and cozy, but we don’t know where all of the light switches are or where we put away some of our stuff. This week we installed some fireplace logs, painted the foyer, organized the garage to set up my treadmill and elliptical (YES!), and had a pet fence installed. Oh, and most importantly, I primed over the neon yellow paint in the third bedroom. That bedroom and the kitchen are the only rooms left to paint.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 2

    With all this work, it is nice to make a nice meal each week as a special treat. When I was a kid, because my mom didn’t really cook, twice baked potatoes were a special occasion side dish. We had them for any holiday where my mom cooked. They are creamy and delicious, topped with bacon, cheese, and green onions. I LOVED them and looked forward to leftovers. They are still one of my favorites.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 3

    The best thing about them now is that they are delicious and perfect to make ahead and bake later. That makes them great for holidays or entertaining. Or sometimes even a weeknight meal to prep the night before. They certainly feel fancy to me and they taste so rich and decadent it is a special treat.

    Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 1 hour

    Ingredients (3-6 servings)

    • 3 potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork
    • olive oil
    • salt
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 -1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 3-4 slices bacon cooked until crispy

    Instructions

    Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

    Rub the potatoes with olive oil and salt. Bake 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.

    Cut the potatoes in half for smaller portions (6) of cut the tops off for larger portions. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and set the skin aside. Mash the potatoes. Add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper to taste. Add milk until you like the consistency. It should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Stir in half of the green onions.

    Fill the potato skins with the potato mixture. If serving immediately, bake with cheese for 15-20 minutes. To use later, bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees, adding cheese and baking for an additional 10 minutes. Top with bacon and green onions.

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    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 3

    A week from today is Christmas. Can you even believe how quickly it came this year? It seems like just last week it was hot and sunny and now winter weather has hit us. As Christmas draws near, we not only celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, but also my mom’s birthday. We are planning a celebration on Sunday that includes my favorite brunch.

    Unlike Thanksgiving where we have traditional side dishes just like my grandma used to make, Christmas is a little different. It is often a time where we meld old and new favorites to make a special meal to enjoy together. Our planning often includes thinking about new ideas as well as incorporating some old favorites. I try to include some vegetables, a protein and some delicious, comforting carbs. While I plan to share our menu with you later, I wanted to share with you a festive, easy salad that could be made for any special occasion.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 4

    A wedge salad is just what it sounds like. It is iceberg lettuce cut into wedges and then topped with your favorite salad toppings. I know many people do not like iceberg lettuce because it lacks vitamins, but I love the crunchy texture that it adds to a salad. Actually, iceberg lettuce reminds me of the salads we ate when I was a kid, before spring mix and kale became trendy. Some of my favorite salads include iceberg, including this one.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad

    I like the combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy from this salad. The pecans add a nice balance to the mix of savory ingredients. I like this combination, but it might be fun to have a make your own wedge salad for people to try fun new toppings and combinations.

    Wedge Salad

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (4 servings)

    • 1 head iceberg lettuce
    • 4 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
    • 1 avocado, diced
    • blue cheese dressing
    • candied pecans
    • crumbled blue cheese
    • green onion
    • 2 hardboiled eggs, diced

    Instructions

    Serve all ingredients over the wedge of iceberg lettuce.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Fried Green Tomatoes 2

    If you are anything like me, you spent a good portion of your childhood watching the same movies over and over again. The movies changed from time to time, but for the most part I watched the same movies again and again. The movies that I watched constantly were Top Gun, White Christmas, Greece, and Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Fried Green Tomatoes

    Obviously I want to talk about Fried Green Tomatoes today. Being from a small town in Pennsylvania, there really were not restaurants where I could try fried green tomatoes. Ever since I saw the movie, I wanted to try them. Oh, and really good barbecue. Anyway, over the past few years I have tried making them with different crusts. We have tried using only flour, flour mixed with corn meal, only cornmeal, and flour mixed with corn masa. Corn masa wins by far. It is basically flour made out of super fine ground corn. It can be found in the ethnic section of many grocery stores.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Fried Green Tomatoes 5

    One of the things that I did not like about fried green tomatoes on my first few attempts was how sour they were. In order to eliminate the sour taste, sprinkle the tomatoes with a small amount of sugar prior to breading them. It does not add a sweetness to the tomatoes, it only removes the sour.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Fried Green Tomatoes 4

    I like to serve my fried green tomatoes with homemade ranch and some hot sauce. Enjoy them while they are still warm but not hot. These are a great end of summer/early fall treat when green tomatoes are plentiful. Just be certain that your tomatoes are green the whole way through.

    Fried Green Tomatoes

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients (8 slices)

    • 2 green tomatoes
    • salt
    • sugar
    • 1/4 cup corn masa
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • oil

    Instructions

    Slice the tomatoes into 8 slices. Place the tomatoes on a paper towel and sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the moisture.

    On a medium-sized plate, combine flour, masa, smoked paprika, salt, cayenne, and pepper. In a medium-sized bowl, best the egg and the milk together.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

    Blot the tomatoes dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a small amount of sugar (about the same amount that you would salt the tomatoes with). Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture then the egg mixture and again with the flour mixture. Continue with all the tomato slices.

    When the pan is hot, add oil. Fry the tomatoes on both sides until brown. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Our Favorite Green Beans 2

    My favorite food for as long as I can remember has been green beans. I was infatuated as a kid. I often would eat only green beans for dinner especially when we had something icky. I love the crispiness and the fresh fast of fresh green beans. I specifically like uncut green beans. When no one is around, I like to eat them with my fingers like french fries.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Our Favorite Green Beans

    This recipe is our go to green bean recipe. I make them quickly in the wok. I like to keep them a little on the crispy side, so I cook them until they start to get small blackened spots on them. That is the key. When they start to get black all over, they are too soft for me but still tasty.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Our Favorite Green Beans 8

    We simply season them with garlic, butter, salt, and red pepper flakes. Best. Green Beans. Ever.

    Our Favorite Green Beans

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook Time: 6-10 minutes

    Ingredients (2-3 servings)

    • 1 quart fresh green beans with the ends snapped off
    • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons butter
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • salt to taste

    Instructions

    Heat a wok on high. To test if the wok is hot enough, sprinkle a small amount of water on the wok. If it evaporates, the pan is ready.

    Add the oil and the green beans to the pan. Cook stirring frequently until the beans start to get slightly browned. Add butter, garlic, red chili flakes, and salt. Serve hot.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Asian Style Coleslaw 2

    This weekend was a big weekend for us. We had to move from one storage unit to another one. Plus it was dog grooming weekend. That left us with one very busy Saturday after a week filled with late nights. It was nice to spend a quiet evening with the boys and enjoy a fast, simple dinner. Especially after all the running around, planning, and coordinating. It is nights and weeks like the one we just had that makes fast and easy meals a necessity. For the rest of this week, I want to share with you the components of a meal that takes about 15 minutes total to put together. Plus, I use this coleslaw on a sandwich I will share with you later along with the leftover chicken. I really don’t know what we would do without quick side dishes like my Asian Style Coleslaw.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Asian Style Coleslaw

    The thing I really love about this is how healthy it is. It is packed with cabbage, herbs, and tomatoes as well as carrots and jalapeƱos. It takes only a few minutes to prepare all of the ingredients. It is still good for a few days so make ahead to use a couple times during the week.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Asian Style Coleslaw 4

    This coleslaw does not contain mayonnaise like your average coleslaw. Instead, it is lighter with some lime juice as a flavor infuser and some grated ginger. The tomato is a necessity. It adds a sort of umami flavor to the whole dish. I garnish with some peanuts. You can omit the peanuts if you want to have a nearly fat free side dish with few calories.

    Simple Coleslaw

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients (4-6 servings)

    • 1 bag angel shredded cabbage
    • 1 carrot, grated
    • 1/2 jalapeno, grated
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    • salt to taste
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • juice 1 1/2 limes
    • peanuts for garnish

    Instructions

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve immediately.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Stuffed Pepper Soup 3

    Soup season is on! One of my favorite menu planning ideas is soup. There is beauty in letting a big pot of soup simmer for hours and enjoying a hot cup of soup for a few meals during the week. It is so warm and comforting like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and snuggling on the couch. I’m not going to tell you we don’t eat soup in the summer, because we do. A lot. Just not as much as in the cooler months. Summer soups for us tend to be quick soup like wonton soup because they are done quickly and don’t add heat to the house.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Stuffed Pepper Soup 4

    Now that the temperature has dipped below 70 on most days, I like to make a pot of soup and leave it on the stove for hours. Stuffed Pepper Soup is a fall soup in our house. I really like it when green peppers, onions, and tomatoes are available at the farmer’s market. It makes the soup more economical and more flavorful.

    This soup is packed with all the fillings of a stuffed pepper. It has green peppers, onion, tomatoes, and brown rice. I am not exactly sure how most people eat stuffed peppers, but we always had them with mashed potatoes as a kid. It seems natural to me to eat stuffed pepper soup with mashed potatoes. We always make some and put a pile in the bottom of the bowl before scooping the soup over top. Soup served over mashed potatoes is something my grandma always did, especially with chicken noodle.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Stuffed Pepper Soup 2

    When I eat this soup I am often surprised by how much it tastes like the stuffed peppers my grandma made when I was a kid. This soup freezes well for quick weeknight meals, but most importantly it makes a perfect early fall meal.

    Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 1-2 hours

     

    Ingredients (8-10 servings)

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, diced
    • 4 green peppers, diced
    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced
    • 2 tablespoons beef flavored Better Than Bouillon
    • 1 29 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

    Instructions

    Heat an 8 quart pot over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and onions. Cook until translucent.

    Add the garlic and green peppers. Cook until the peppers are tender.

    Add the ground beef and cooked until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients except rice. Add 3-4 tomato cans of water.

    Simmer on medium until the soup is desired thickness. Add the rice.

    Serve over mashed potatoes if desired.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Steak Lettuce Wraps 4

    I love a lettuce wrap. I think it is about the interactive aspect of them. I like any food that involves dips and then add on top of the dip that I actually get to play with my food. It might just be the perfect meal. Add on top of all of that the textures. The crunchy lettuce, the hot steak with the cool center, the spicy sweet peanut sauce. The flavor and texture combinations are amazing.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Steak Lettuce Wraps 2

    I love this peanut sauce. It is so versatile. We use it in stir fry, on salads, to make a quick pasta salad. It makes everything just taste better. For these lettuce wraps I used peanut butter, but you can substitute almond butter for tasty results.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Steak Lettuce Wraps 3

    I like to eat these while watching the game or for a light dinner.

    Steak Lettuce Wraps

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 2-3 hours

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (4 servings)

      For the Steak

      • 2 Petite Sirloin Steaks (about 1 pound)
      • 1/4 cup soy sauce
      • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
      • 2 gloves garlic, minced
      • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
      • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
      • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

      For the Peanut Sauce

      • 1/2 cup soy sauce
      • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
      • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
      • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
      • handful cilantro
      • 1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
      • 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
      • juice 1 lime
      • 2 cloves garlic
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 6 drops fish oil

      For the Lettuce Wraps

      • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
      • peanut sauce
      • crushed peanuts
      • chopped cilantro
      • steak, thinly sliced
      • avocado (optional)

      Instructions

      For the Steak

      Marinade the steaks in the remaining ingredients for at least 2 hours but no more than 24 hours.

      Grill for 4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other side. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Slice thinly against the grain. Salt to taste.

      For the Peanut Sauce

      Combine all ingredients in the blender. Taste for seasoning. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

      For the Lettuce Wrap

      Serve the lettuce, peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro, steak, and avocado together.

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      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 8

      I love a fast dinner. Especially when I can have a delicious meal on the table in less than 20 minutes on a hectic weeknight. In order to do that, I am more than happy to invest some extra time prepping in advance so that I can save some time when I don’t have it after work. One of my husband’s favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs. If I would let him eat it everyday, I am sure he would. With his obsession, I like to keep homemade sauce in the freezer. I make it in huge batches so we can pack the freezer for later.

      If you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that I spent a couple days last week making sauce using fresh, local tomatoes. I made it twice. The first batch was my trial run and the second was to make sure I had a solid recipe. I have to say, this is some of the best sauce that I have ever eaten. It tastes like summer and will be so good in January (if it lasts that long) to taste fresh, summer tomatoes.

      This sauce is very versatile. You can use it as is to make a big bowl of pasta or use it as an ingredient in other sauces. I like to use basic sauce to make Vodka sauce, Bolognese, and even minestrone soup. The most important part of this process is to peel the tomatoes. If you have never done that before, look below for pictures.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

      Score each tomato with an x on the bottom using a sharp knife.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 2

      Core the tomato.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 3

      Dunk the tomatoes in boiling water. I like to do 5 tomatoes at a time. Count to 30.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 4

      Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and dunk them in an ice bath.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 5

      Peel off the skin. It should come off easily.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 6

      Some recipes tell you to dice the peeled tomatoes. That seemed time consuming to me. I just squeeze them into a bowl.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 7

      I doubled the recipe to make this pot and ended up with 25 pints. I like to keep the banana peppers and freeze them in the sauce. I use them on pizza.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 9

      If you have a little extra freezer space and some tomatoes, this is a great way to enjoy summer fresh tomatoes all winter.

      Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 60 minutes

      Cook Time: 2-3 hours

      Ingredients (12 pints)

      • 1 peck plum tomatoes
      • 1 bag ice
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1/2 diced onion
      • 4 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
      • 1 small can tomato paste
      • 20-30 basil leaves
      • 2-3 hot banana peppers
      • salt to taste

      Instructions

      In an 8 quart or larger pan, heat olive oil and cook onions on medium low until translucent.

      While the onions are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath. Boil water in an 8 quart pot filled about half full (enough to cover a tomato). Core the tomatoes and score with an x on the bottom.

      Next to the boiling water, set up the ice water, a slotted spoon, a bowl for the tomato peels and a large bowl for the peeled tomatoes. Boil 5 tomatoes at a time for 30 seconds. Remove quickly from the boiling water and place in the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Remove from the ice water and peel the skin off of the tomatoes. Squeeze the tomatoes in a large bowl. Repeat until all the tomatoes are peeled.

      When the onions are translucent, add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the basil. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

      Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Add the banana peppers and salt to taste. Cook for about 3 hours until the sauce has reduced by about 1/4. Allow to cool before freezing.

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