How to Sauté Greens

Leafy Greens are great for you. If you don’t have much experience with cooking, don’t let them intimidate you. A simple sauté is an easy way to cook them. In this post I’m going to show you how to sauté swiss chard. You are going to need one bunch of chard, 1/4 cup of cooking oil (sesame, sunflower, or coconut are good choices), salt, a long knife,  a frying pan, and a pair of tongs or utensil to flip/stir your greens. I also throw in a clove of garlic using my garlic press, but that is an optional step.

swiss chard

First rinse off your greens to remove any dirt that may have tried to hitch a ride.

 

chopped chard

Now we are going to prep the greens. Cut off and discard an inch to inch and a half of the end of your stems. Start chopping the stems up into small pieces, about a quarter of an inch but no need to be overly precise. Once you get to the green leafy parts cut them into strips approximately an inch and a half wide. Do two perpendicular cuts to cut your strips into thirds.

Next heat your 1/4 cup of oil up in the pan. Once it’s been warming for a minute or two add your chopped chard.  Top that with a generous amount of salt.

 

add garlic to greensThis next step is optional, so if you don’t like garlic go ahead and omit it.  Peel a garlic clove and put it in your garlic press.  Scrape the crushed garlic into the pan.  If you don’t have a garlic press you can mince, or really finely chop, the garlic. I love my garlic press because it makes the process much faster and garlic much smaller.

Frequently flip and stir the greens or the bottom pieces of chard will turn into char.

 

sauteed grrens finished

When it is wilted and the stems have lost their crunch it’s done.  Serve immediately.  In my personal opinion if you let greens get luke warm they feel slimy and much less appetizing.

You can use this method for other greens, the only variation will be how you prepare them. Baby spinach only needs rinsed and it’s ready to cook.  Be aware that spinach reduces in volume more than chard so you’ll need more of it to make a serving. Kale has a very fibrous stem, so you’ll want to rip the greens off of the main central vein. Then rip it into pieces and continue as with the chard.

Now you know how to sauté greens.  What other methods of cooking them do you use?  Are there any other tutorials you would find useful?

 

How to Make Chicken Broth

Bone broths are amazing.  They are good for every part of you, from the hair on your head to your toenails.  Broths are very simple to make, and are so much cheaper than buying an inferior commercial product.  Most of your ingredients for a good chicken broth are leftovers that would otherwise be thrown away.   You start with putting the carcass of a whole chicken in your slow cooker. Using the juices that escaped when you cooked the bird will add rich flavor.  If you have access to some chicken feet you can add half a pound to a pound of those. The feet contain quite a bit of gelatin which will add extra nutrition, but you can still get good broth without them.. Pour in enough water to cover the bones.  Adding about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar helps release the nutrients from the bones, but doesn’t affect the taste. There is another optional add in that requires a bit of forethought. If you save and freeze the ends of carrots and celery you can add those for more vitamins in your broth.  Set the temperature of your slow cooker or crock pot to low and let it simmer 8-12 hours.  Longer is better, so I’ve found overnight works best.

After the broth is done cooking let it cool and put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  Then take it out and skim off the fat that collected on the top.  I got in a hurry once and skipped this step.  The broth was greasy and had an unpleasant feel to it.  Don’t skip it, skim it.  (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)  Now you can freeze your broth and use it as a base for soups, stews, or in any recipe calling for broth or stock.  One more tip: if you want to freeze it in small amounts to use in a recipe you can add tablespoons measured tablespoons in an icecube tray.  Pop them in a freezer bag after they’re frozen and then you won’t have to thaw a whole container for just a couple of tablespoons of broth.

Enjoy the health benefits, great flavor, and savings from making your own chicken broth!

 

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is an ancient high protein grain.  It looks a little like barley, and has a very subtle nutty flavor.  It can be used as a substitute for barley, bulgur, or rice in many recipes. It is a staple in our gluten-free house. When preparing quinoa it is best to be prepared.  Soaking it for 4-8 hours before cooking makes it easier to digest.  In a pinch you can skip or shorten this step.  Quinoa grains are covered with bitter tasting powder called saponin so they need a quick rinse in a strainer. Place the quinoa in a sauce pan with 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa.  Add a pinch of salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Then cover it and bring the heat down to a simmer.  Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on letting it steam for 5 minutes. The water should be fully absorbed.

Quinoa is huge online right now. Its high protein makes it a great alternative to less nutrient dense carb choices. You can use this in many recipes, such as my Italian Chicken Quinoa.

How to Roast Squash or Pumpkin

I was spoiled growing up. My mom always used fresh pumpkin in her holiday baking. It makes such a difference in the flavor. Roasting a pumpkin, or squash, isn’t difficult. I had a big butternut squash i needed to cook up for preparation for another recipe. First, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Then cut the squash in half.

Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. To keep the squash from sticking tothe pan smear some coconut oil, butter, or ghee on the cut side of the flesh. Place the squash on a large sheet pan with lips, or roasting pan.It’s better if you can fit them both in laying flat,but if you need to lean one on the other a bit like in the picture below it’s ok. They just might not cook as evenly.

Put them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the squash. These I did for an hour. They are done when you can stick the tines of the fork through the skin of the squash with almost no force. Take the out and let them cool.

The one on the left is done, if they get as dark as the one on the right, they are a little bit overcooked.

The skin will peel right off, just watch out for pockets of heat. At this point prep it for whatever recipe you are using. Or you can mash it up with a little of your favorite milk/milk substitute and enjoy as a yummy side dish.