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Green Beans Stir Fry with Tempeh – Vegan Dinner!

In Adventure Eating, Dinner, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian by Tom0 Comments

Stir fry this and stir fry that… You can basically stir fry anything!  This is a great combo (Green Beans, Carrots and Tempeh) for a meat-less option that will still keep ya full past dessert.

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The unassuming fermented soybeans (tempeh) wear a meaty disguise to this veggie party with an amazing ability to soak up the dark soy sauce flavors. Add a pile of fresh crunchy green beans, a few carrots, with plenty of garlic and ginger for a bright and satisfyingly hearty ethnic taste.

Your co-workers may even ask: “What type of meat is that in your super delicious looking stir fry left overs??”

And no Bob, you can’t have any my stir fry…

Speaking of left overs, this is one of our staples for a pre-cooked, packaged meal and frozen meal. We have embarked on many stir fry cooking sprees of over 20 pounds on a Sunday afternoon.  Then we split up the loot into 1 pound FoodSaver vacuum sealed bags, the perfect single serve healthy lunch or dinner for a guy on the go. Reheating is a breeze and the flavors / textures remain pretty darn good even after a few weeks!

As of this writing, I have eaten our packaged stir fry in 15 states and at 35,000 feet somewhere over Russia… Have stir fry, will travel.

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Let’s Cook!


Green Beans Stir Fry with Tempeh

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Chicken Soup Recipe – Pressure Cooker Method

In Dinner, Great Left-Overs, Recipe, Techniques, Vegetables by Tom18 Comments

How to make easy chicken soup recipe in Fagor pressure cooker


Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Recipe – Fast and Delicious!


Delightfully satisfying and comforting chicken soup on the quick! This use of the pressure cooker creates both a wonderful soup broth and perfectly cooked chicken (not that soggy stuff…) ALL IN ONE POT.

The pressure cooker has earned its place on the shelf with this recipe. You might be thinking, damn, I don’t have a pressure cooker. Take a quick scroll through this recipe any way and check out the result. See how stinking fast you can have awesome soup?! If you’ve still got some Christmas cash laying around, check out the Fagor Pressure Cooker.

“I could eat this everyday! I like to grate a bit of white sharp cheddar on it too.” – Tom’s Mom

This soup features two layers of flavor, the deep rich and savory flavor from the fresh chicken broth and then it’s brightened up at the end with a large handful of spinach and some lemon juice. The lemon is amazing because the acidity enhances the flavor similar to salt AND causes the broth to transform into a white opaque color. Whooaaa food chemistry…

Chicken soup recipe pressure cooker vegetables lemon sass 0620

Recipe Inspiration: The Pressured Cook

This recipe was adapted from Lorna Sass’ book on pressure cooking called “The Pressured Cook.”
She is a pressure cooker master and the book is chockful of tips for pressure cooker success. According to Lorna, this recipe has been adapted from the Scottish soup called “Cock-a-leekie” — and COCK-A-LEEKIE CURES ALL AILMENTS. So there you have it!

My initial hesitation with this recipe was the idea of boiled chicken meat. Seriously it freaked me out. Sounded like it might turn out like some gnarly cafeteria goo. To my utter amazement this was absolutely not the case! I pride myself with my chicken cooking abilities, so I promise you won’t be led astray with this one.


Lemon Chicken Vegetable Soup with the Pressure Cooker Method Step by Step Recipe

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Asian Inspired Broccolini Recipe, Edamame, Coconut

In Adventure Eating, Dinner, Grain-Free, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetables by Tom1 Comment

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Broccolini Recipe with Edamame, Coconut and Kaffir Lime Leaves


Fresh and light with tons of lime and coconut. Take a ride around the world with this tropical vegetable dish. The Kaffir Lime leaves give an amazing aroma of lime throughout the dish without citrusy bitterness. Finished with heaping handful of cilantro for an ultimate fresh taste.

Over the Christmas break, I was back at home perusing cookbooks and found “Plenty More” by the uber famous Yotam Ottolenghi. At first glance I was thoroughly impressed by the images, but felt the ingredients may be too obscure for most.  I still grabbed the book and loaded it up for some airplane reading on the way back from Missouri to the Chicago Arctic.

Recipe Inspiration – Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi (pg.62)

While squished into an airplane seat and thumbing through the book, I found myself quite excited about a number of Yotam’s recipes. They seem to have an un-abashed other world flair to them. Due to his British tongue, a number of ingredients that sound exotic turn out to be easily attainable. For example, “haricots verts” actually are just simple green beans…

Ok, so beans are haricots verts, but when do I find curry leaves, and fresh ones to be exact? Well I haven’t yet… But I did find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves at an asian grocery store for real cheap. So I tossed ’em in! Although I am sure it’s a very different flavor from the original recipe, the aroma and flavor infusion from the leaves is worth a quick trip to the market.

Another substitution I made for this recipe was young coconut meat for grated mature hard coconut. Until preparing this dish I had never hacked into a fresh coconut in the kitchen. Recalling my childhood, we might have had one that I smashed with a hammer in the driveway, but that’s about it. My girlfriend loves coconut water and has many fond memories of drinking them along the roadside in Singapore. She assured me, “just cut here and here and the top will come right off.”

broccolini recipe plenty more edamame green beans coconutI sort of believed her, but I still wore my cut resistant gloves. I dug up an old knife and began gently hacking away at the top point. It’s easy to cut through the white flesh, but then there is a woody center that does take a bit more whacking. Then suddenly the coconut water begins to leak out and whoohoo! Just like finding water in the dessert. Take a look down below for images of how-to break into the young coconut, it is definitely easier than I would have imagined. AND the coconut is totally worth it in this veggie dish for a hint of sweetness and richness.

This recipe was the my first foray into “Plenty More” and it actually turned out real tasty! Either every recipe in this book is pretty good, or I just got lucky. Regardless, I am motivated to translate more British English to discover the world according to Yotam.


Yotam Otteolenghi’s Plenty More Recipe Adaptation for Broccolini and Edamame Salad Step by Step Images

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Quinoa, Black Beans, Cucumber and Avocado with Eggs Recipe

In Gluten-Free, Great Left-Overs, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables by Tom4 Comments

Quinoa Recipe Healthy Eating Ideas - Avocado Black Beans Cilantro Cucumbers Easy Lunch


Quinoa Recipe for a quick lunch


This dish with Quinoa, Black Beans, Cucumber and Avocado with Eggs is light, but hearty enough to refuel your tanks and support your journey to greatness. The combination of the vinegar, limes and cilantro creates a wonderful freshness that reinvigorates your soul through your daily grind.You never know, a great idea might even hit you over the head after lunch when you are NOT a wandering zombie in an afternoon coma…

Lunch is often a “human maintenance” meal for me. This translates to: I need food that fuels me through the rest of the crazy day, without leaving me ravenous or sleepy an hour later. Since I love to eat, it also kills me to just grab some junk food and call it okay. So I have been on a quest to find a lunch “supplement” that is filling, enjoyable, and healthy.

This recipe evolved from a bean and quinoa salad dish that my mom regularly makes at home. From that inspiration, I added some avocado and eggs to make it a little more savory and substantial enough to call it a meal.  Without the eggs, it can also be a great side dish.

how to cook quinoa food blog recipe

I like to use organic dried black beans cooked via the pressure cooking method, but you can use canned ones. I recommend spending the additional nickel and grabbing the organic ones if available. The organic version will have fewer preservatives and I usually feel less “musical” after the meal. Even if the upgraded beans are a couple bucks, you are nowhere near the cost of a cheeseburger! Treat yourself!

This is a great meal to partially prepare ahead of time, especially the beans and quinoa. I like to make a large batch of beans and quinoa, and store them (separately) in left-over containers in my fridge. They last for about a week without getting funky. With these prepped, you can pull together all kinds of healthy meals on the quick (and cheap).


Quinoa Recipe with Eggs Step by Step Images

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Carrot Orange Beets Ginger and Turmeric Juice (COBGT Juice)

In Juice, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian by Tom1 Comment

beet juice recipes how to juice carrots


Beet Juice Recipe to Boost Your Nutrition Intake and Brighten Your Day!


Bold color and big nutrition. This juice is loaded with some richly colored roots, kicked up with ginger and turmeric and then smoothed out with some oranges. It turns out super red, but don’t let that fool you, it doesn’t taste as earthy (like dirt) as you might imagine a beet juice blend.

beet juice recipe cleanse ideas
With the eternal question of juicing or smoothing, I choose both. I have not gone down the juice cleanse road, although I have heard some amazing things from friends. I look to juicing to complement my diet by getting a concentrated dose of nutrients, QUICK. This allows me to get some of the goodness from greens, roots, and fruits that I likely would not have eaten raw.

When picking out the ingredients for this juice, I go the bulk root produce section. If you go with the less pretty, but organic versions (i.e. bulk beets) you can get this elixir done on a budget. Turmeric can be a little trickier to find, but seems to be at most of the Whole Foods in Chicago. If you cannot get your hands on it, just go for the ginger, it will still be a treat.

carrot juice recipe with orange beet ginger turmeric

Recipe Inspiration – Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing, and Living Well

Squeezing all of those whole foods into a smooth juice does come with a hit of sugar, so be prepared. I tend to do my best thinking and work when I am not spiked on sugar, so I like to enjoy my juice with meals to blunt the sugar rush. You will definitely still feel a jolt of nutrients and energy any way you enjoy this powerhouse blend.

Lynette Astaire, an interesting personality in the health, fitness and fashion scene, whom I met in Chicago, has been chronicling a 21 day fast on YouTube. It’s quite informative and entertaining, definitely worth checking out. Sooner or later, I will be pulling Lynnette in for a collaboration on Eat with Tom, stay tuned!

 


Juice Recipe with Beets, Orange Turmeric, and Ginger Step by Step Images

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Spiralized Zucchini with Fresh Spaghetti Sauce – Paleo “Noodles”

In Dinner, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Vegetables, Vegetarian by Tom1 Comment

Zucchini vegetable noodle recipe main dish with pictures

No noodles? No problem… when you have a spiralizer!  You are going to love the light freshness of the zucchini with the simple, slightly sweet home cooked tomato sauce for this dish.  This fare satisfies and leaves you feeling full (which makes me happy) without the drag and resulting carb coma of demolishing a huge plate of pasta.  It’s got a double whammy positive effect!

I often make an entire meal out of a few heaping helpings of these zucs, but it can also make a nice side dish, or even an equal partner in a left-over buffet.  I’m even happy to eat it cold the next day… Kind of like cold pizza?

Sooo how do you take this zuchini and turn it into a noodle?!?  Magic… Of course.  Actually the magic happens with a cheap silly plastic device that looks like a toy called the “Spiralizer.”  I enjoy nice top quality kitchen tools as much as the next guy.  This one is cheap and flimsy, but simply works well.  Here is a LINK to the one I use.  There seems to be about 5 different models on Amazon, but I think they are all the exact same.  For 20ish bucks, you might as well try it out!

Spiralizer for sale on Amazon - Cheap and useful

You won’t regret making the spaghetti sauce at home, it’s worth the few extra minutes.  The sauce is assembled from organic canned tomatoes to make it a bit quicker and cheaper for those of us city dwellers that have to buy our tomatoes.   Even canned tomatoes combined with fresh onions, garlic and herbs will knock the socks off of any bottled up sauce.

For the sauce flavoring I used an Herbs de Provence spice blend (savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender) for two reasons, it’s a wonderfully versatile and fragrant spice for many dishes, and I have a ton of it right now…  But feel free to get creative with your spice choice or just put in regular ole I-talian blend.


Spiralizer Zucchini with Fresh Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

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Limey Avocado and Grape Tomato Side Dish from Lemonade LA

In Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian by Tom1 Comment

Amazing avocado recipe - vegan meals - chicago food blog


Avocado Recipe with Limey Dressing and Grape Tomatoes


Large chunks of avocados spiked with a zesty lime vinaigrette, smiles are guaranteed.  This dish is a great side or main player for a veggie based lunch.  The good fats in the avocados will keep both your brain and stomach happy all afternoon.  No h-Anger excuses!

(h-Anger defined: the annoyed and dangerous mindset that causes you to turn into a ravenous beast until you get junk food or another meal.  No, coffee does not fix this condition.  See additional details on the Urban Dictionary.)

I  traveled and worked in downtown Los Angeles for many weeks last year.  Of all the meals I ate throughout the city, my favorites primarily all came from this quick serve modern cafeteria restaurant on the basement level of the office building.

Best Food blog recipes for lunch gourmet vegetable side dish chi

Recipe Inspiration – The Lemonade Cookbook


This mecca of lunch greatness, called Lemonade, seems to exist only in California and the Middle East (go figure…) at this point.  This dish falls into their ‘marketplace portions’ category, consisting of relatively healthy, mostly veggie based, and super flavorful dishes.  I was so excited to find such a truly filling and healthy option for lunch on the road that I ate there nearly everyday.  Oh yeah, and on travel days I would eat it twice… oops.  If you are flying Delta through LAX, you can find it right there in the terminal.

Since I am such an avid fan, of course I had to buy the cookbook.  So now that my days traveling to L.A. are over, I am working through the recipes and plan to share a few more of my favorites in future posts.  Got a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket? Pick up the The Lemonade Cookbook on Amazon.


Avocado Recipe with Limey Dressing and Grape Tomatoes

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Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Dried Cranberries

In Dinner, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian by Tom4 Comments

Eat Healthy - Raw Meal recipes - Ideas for Dinner

Turn that super chewy and tough raw kale into a tender treat with a simple massage.  The other secret weapons of this recipe are  sunflower seeds and mustard which transform these greens into a savory and satisfying dish.

The idea of massaging kale is bound to cause a raised eyebrow from anyone not familiar with the glorious result.  The process is so simple, I am still dumbfounded why the technique has not taken hold on a larger scale.

Don’t be surprised if you too are amazed by the transformation as the kale dramatically reduces in volume and becomes luxuriously soft.  To the untrained eye, it will even appear to have been cooked.

Try adding different dried fruits or toasted nuts to liven up the flavors even more.  Pine nuts are also amazing, but kinda expensive these days.

For the longest time, I was not into raw curly kale, because it took too much work just to choke it down.    Turns out, the kale just needs a relaxing massage.  This recipe is super easy and worth the quick forearm workout.  Your significant other will surely let you practice the massage techniques on them…

Let’s Cook!


Massaged Kale with Cranberries Recipe Step by Step Images

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Chickpea Pizza with Eggs, Spinach and Tomatoes

In Dinner, Easy Impress, Gluten-Free, Recipe, Vegetables by Tom10 Comments

The best recipe for gluten free pizza - chickpea flour crust


Gluten-Free Chickpea Flatbread Pizza Crust Recipe


“I want Pizza!!”  We all have the craving, so why fight it?  This gluten-free pizza recipe will leave you not only satisfied, but inspired to create all kinds of pies.  The chickpea crust has a uniquely creamy and hearty taste that will fill you with happiness.  Not to mention, the crust is soooo easy to make, you will never have the urge to deal with a ‘regular’ pizza dough again!

Recipe Inspiration Food Matters, Mark Bittman

This recipe has become a busy evening favorite at my house.  As with any pizza, you can make it as complicated or simple as you like.  I erred on the simple side for this ‘za (as my brother the pizza delivery driver says…) to help you get a handle on this method of creating the crust.  Also, with a pizza this basic, you likely have most of the ingredients in your fridge.

This dish has evolved from the Mark Bitman recipe for Easy Whole Grain Flatbread.  He mentions building the pizza after the bread (crust) is fully cooked, but I have modified the cooking times to accommodate a hearty dose of toppings.

I have baked this off quite a few times and have included a few tips below that will aide you in a perfect pizza on your first try.

Ingredients for the best gluten-free pizza recipe - Eat with Tom Chicago foodblog


Chickpea Pizza Crust Recipe with Eggs, Tomatoes and Spinach

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Fresh Raw Beet Salad – Fancy White Shirts, Take Cover!

In Great Left-Overs, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables by Tom0 Comments

Beets are sweet raw, how to eat seasonal vegetables in chicago


Beet Salad Recipe with Apples and Cabbage


This raw beet salad recipe tames the earthy essence of the beets and brings out a beautiful sweetness.  As soon as you get past the fact that you are gobbling up raw beets (if you have phobia), you are bound to forget that this is actually a pretty healthy dish!

Raw beets have quite possibly the most intense red color I have ever seen.  It has such a powerful color that every item in this salad will become lush and red in color.  Watch out for your fancy white shirts!

Recipe Inspiration: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

There is something about beets that worries many people.  There must have been conspiracy among grandmas in the past to make terrible dishes with beets.  But that can’t be grandmas always make great stuff.  Maybe someone forgot to wash their beets and they got a mouthful of sand… No worries, in this recipe, you peel the beets, so you should be safe from the grit.

I worked from Mark Bittman’s Raw Beet Salad Recipe and pulled a few of variations mentioned to come up with this combo.  I love his uncommon takes on regular ingredients.  Be sure to check out his inventive alternative preparations for the Raw Beet Salad, he is a Master.

Don’t worry about leftovers with this recipe, the flavors will continue to improve as it marinates.  It makes for a good take along lunch dish, although prepare for co-worker jealousy!

Let’s Cook!


Raw Beet Salad with Apples and Red Cabbage

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