Recipes

Chicken Stock

November 9, 2017
1 Review (5.00 out of 5)
Soup_Stock | Bellasapron.com

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Chicken Stock
Every kitchen has a staple or a "base for cooking" and in most kitchens, it is a great chicken stock. Chicken stock is great to use in soups, easy to freeze for later use, and saves money than buying store bought stock. This is so easy to make! Let me know what you think...
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-4 hours
Servings
Quarts
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-4 hours
Servings
Quarts
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, garlic, and seasonings in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Note: make sure water covers all ingredients. Add more water as needed.
  2. Chill the stock overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the surface fat floating on top. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
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Eating Healthy

October 26, 2017
HealthyEating | Bellasapron.com

When you hear the words organic, gluten-free, GMO free, do you think dollar signs? Does buying those “specialty” foods put a bigger hole in your wallet? Why do you think that is so?

That mindset is not always accurate.  Organic, gluten-free, GMO free foods aren’t always more expensive.  It all depends on where and when you are buying them.  It also depends on if you are looking for store and manufacture coupons!  Healthier foods tend to come from smaller production lines or local factories where the food is being processed at low volumes.  Low volume could mean higher cost due to higher “piece” cost of the product.  It can also seem like it cost more because the quality of the starting product is better.  Processed foods (the generic canned meats, soups, etc.) tend to be high volume production and always seem to be on sale at the store.  Do you know what kind of meat or what grade meat went into that can of ham?  No, you do not….

BUT, is it really more expensive to be healthy?  That’s just a myth, that’s my personal opinion.  Eating healthy means eating less meat, eating more bean based proteins, and buying more vegetable and fruits to fill up.  Dry bags of beans are cheap and you can even try to buy it in bulk to save a few dollars.  That’s much healthier than binge eating junk food you’ll end up eating more of.   How many people have sat there and gone through a whole bag of chips in one sitting?  I won’t deny it, I have.  Doesn’t mean I’m proud of it.

With that said, how is eating healthier cheaper?  Follow these few simple steps:

  • Plant your own herb and fruit or veggie garden
  • Shop at your local farmers markets
  • Pick your own fruits and veggies at your local farms
    • Summer is a great time to find your local strawberry farms! Sounds like a fun family activity too.
  • Pickle, can, or freeze your fruits, herbs, and vegetables before they spoil
  • Buy dry beans instead of canned goods (they keep longer and keep as prettier decoration in your kitchen in mason jars)
  • Bake your own breads, biscuits, and desserts
    • Nothing beats homemade warm buttermilk biscuits vs. the Pillsbury dough boy kind. Sorry dough boy!
  • Make your own stocks and cooked chicken!

Have fun making your own healthy foods.  Eating healthy helps having a happy, healthier you!  It also could mean less doctor visits from high cholesterol or high blood pressure issues.  If you have kids, it promotes healthier kids too.

Check out Bella’s Apron for some other homemade recipes!  What other ideas do you have to help promote healthy eating without breaking the bank?

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

October 21, 2017
buttermilk pancake | Bellasapron.com
Cuisine

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Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
Amazing, homemade buttermilk pancakes that didn't come from a box. Skip the processed pancakes with the mystery ingredients that you cannot pronounce and spend the extra time on these pancakes! Freeze the extra in a ziploc bag for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner later. Pancakes can be eaten anytime...right? =)
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Use an electric mixer or mix up with a whisk. Put some muscle into it!
  2. Add buttermilk, butter (once cooled), vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt into bowl. Don't over mix. It's OK if there's some small lumps. Let the mix sit while you heat the pan.
    Add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt into bowl.  Don't over mix.  It's OK if there's some small lumps.

Let the mix sit while you heat the pan.
  4. Lightly spray or grease a griddle with oil to ~350 degree F. Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of mixture onto griddle. Once edges start to lightly bubble and/or batter starts to set, flip! About 3-4 mins each side. Repeat until mixture is gone.
    Lightly spray or grease a griddle with oil to ~350 degree F.

Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of mixture onto griddle.  Once edges start to lightly bubble and/or batter starts to set, flip!  About 3-4 mins each side.  Repeat until mixture is gone.
  5. Serve pancakes while hot with maple syrup, fresh fruit, butter or compote. Enjoy!!!!!! They are THE best pancake recipes!
    Serve pancakes while hot with maple syrup, fresh fruit, butter or compote.

Enjoy!!!!!! They are THE best pancake recipes!
Recipe Notes

Set oven to WARM option or 250 deg F. As each pancakes cooks, plan into a oven safe dish and store in the oven.

 

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Stock Up Your Pantry

October 5, 2017
spice organizer | Bellasapron.com

Stop wasting hours at the store and stock up your pantry!  My family and I just took a trip and it was nice not having to run to the store and end up with a $300+ bill at the cash register.

How do you stop the last minute, EXPENSIVE shopping trips? How to avoid the expensive take out dinners because the pantry is empty?  Build your pantry!  Buy the staples to help whip up meals for your family and friends.  Remember, some of these pantry items have a long shelf life so it’s ok to store it. Remember to rotate your items by checking expiration dates and restocking when they are on sale.

Going to the store and buying every ingredient on your recipe takes lots of time.  Buy only the unique items off your recipe list and you’ll save yourself lots of time.  Time is money…this will help you save lots of time!

With that said, what should be in your pantry? What types of cuisine do you like? Here’s a general list of staples I have in my pantry.  Make sure to personalize it to your liking and what your family likes. Also keep in mind allergies and diets within your family.  All these goods come in non-gmo friendly, gluten-free, vegan, fair trade, organic versions, etc.

To stock up your pantry effectively, break up the items into the following categories:

  • Dry goods
  • Sauces and Oils
  • Herbs and Seasonings
  • Fridge Goods
  • Frozen Goods
  • Canned Goods

Category (1) Dry Goods: Great to keep on hand since they have the longest shelf life.  They don’t need to be refrigerated and they could be the base of many meals!  These include:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Dry beans (black beans, red beans, lentils, garbanzo, split pea)
  • Pasta (lasagna, elbow, penne…or whichever one you like)
  • Rice (Jasmine, Wild Rice, Basmati)
  • Rolled Oats (instant, old fashioned)
  • Sugar (white, brown, powdered)

Fun Fact: buy pure cane sugar as the rest is made with sugar beets that are not good for you…stay tuned for another article on that topic)

  • Corn Starch

Category (2) Sauces and Oils: You need these in almost all recipes and dressing / marinades!

  • Oil (olive oil, coconut oil)
  • Vinegar (red wine, rice, white, apple cider)
  • Soy Sauce (try to buy low sodium versions) – store in fridge after opening!
  • Worcestershire Sauce – store in fridge after opening!
  • Sriracha or Chili Sauce – store in fridge after opening!
  • Honey (local is best!!)

Category (3) Herbs and Seasoning: Every recipe’s flavor and zing.  Liven up your meals with these herbs and seasons in your next dressings and sauces.

  • Salt (sea salt)
  • Black Peppers (whole with a grinder)
  • Basil (dried)
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Thyme (dried)
  • Cumin (ground)
  • Crushed Red Pepper – optional if you like spicy foods
  • Cayenne Pepper – optional if you like spicy foods
  • Paprika (Hungarian Smoked)
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Turmeric (…because it’s healthy for you)
  • Bouillon Cubes (Chicken, Vegetable) – buy ones that don’t have MSG in it!

Category (4) Fridge Goods: Staples for cooking that you’ll need to monitor expiration dates on!

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter (unsalted, that way you can add the salt and control it!)
  • Yogurt (plain or Greek)
  • Cheese (try to buy a block instead of shredded, it’s cheaper and it last longer)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard (yellow, Dijon)

Category (5) Frozen Goods: Buying fresh vegetables is always better but for that quick stir fry or quick fancy breakfast, these frozen goods will help you with time.

  • Spinach (chopped or whole leaves)
  • Peas, Beans, Carrot Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Potato (hash, diced)
  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, peaches)

Category (6) Canned Goods: These are great for those quick bake sales, crockpot meals and last minute meals.

  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Beans (black beans, red beans, garbanzo, etc.)
  • Tomato (paste, diced, sauce, sun dried)
  • Stocks (chicken – low sodium, vegetable….in a box not a can)

Some key reminders about this list:

  • This list is to get you a general idea of what items are good to keep on hand, but please don’t feel like you need to go out and purchase all of these items.
  • Try to buy one or two items a week until your kitchen is well stocked with the foods you and your family like.
  • Check out the bulk food area of the store to save but don’t go overboard! No one needs 30 lbs. of rice on hand at all times =)
  • Ina Garten (celebrity chef on Food Network) says to buy high quality and expensive spices. This statement is true! They are often better quality than less expensive spices, but you can still make an amazing meal with discounted grocery store spices.

Now that I have you scouring your pantry, what will you go buy? What have I forgotten to list? Should I add?  What ingredient can you not live without?

 

Rich Macaroni and Cheese

September 11, 2017
rich mac and cheese | Bellasapron.com
Cuisine

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Rich Macaroni and Cheese
WARNING: This is thick and creamy mac and cheese. I hope you enjoy this comfort food as much as I do. Serve it as a side at any occasion or make it your main dish. Enjoy!
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as direction on package. Note: sprinkle some salt into the pot of water to flavor pasta. Cook pasta to preference. Drain and set aside.
  2. ...while pasta is cooking, make the bechamel sauce. In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Sprinkle in flour. Whisk and allow mixture to lightly brown. About 1-2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in warm milk slowly. Continue whisking to avoid lumps. Allow to come to a bubble while mixture thickens. About 5-6 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add in more salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Fold in cooked pasta and serve while hot! .. If you want to bake the mac and cheese, preheat oven to 350 deg F and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top turns a golden brown. Enjoy!!!
Recipe Notes

Add in hot sauce for a kick!  Stir in steamed broccoli to make it healthy =)

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The Stopping GMO Challenge

September 5, 2017
stop gmo| Bellasapron.com

Food, Inc., Forks over Knives, What the Health, and GMO OMG… Have you been watching these documentaries about GMOs (genetically modified organisms)? Does it have you wondering? You are not the only one!

As a mom, I’m always worried about what I’m feeding my kiddo. Thinking about what I’m eating and not eating started when we first talked about getting pregnant. Take your prenatal pill, don’t eat certain fish, watch out for listeria, etc.

As a first time mom, I tried to cook as much of my daughter’s food as I could. I preferred that instead of buying processed foods. That took 2-3 hours each week! Mind you, I did cook most of the food because I enjoyed cooking it and some of the baby food tasted nasty! …yes, I did try all the foods my kid was eating. If I didn’t like it, why would she?

Now she’s almost 4 years old and all I hear about are the dangers of GMOs. GMOs causing cancer, GMOs causing heart issues, GMOs impacting out farmers, and so on. If GMOs are so bad, why would I want to give my daughter something I don’t know how it will impact her or my family? I am a true believer of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. GMOs don’t follow this basic principle.

According to published history, GMOs started back in 1994 (that we know of) and we do NOT know the full health impacts but I do know it’s NOT natural. Our crops are essentially becoming a pesticide and that’s what makes GMOs dangerous. Crops are killing weeds and insects that kill them.

To avoid finding out that the impact of GMOs on my family, I’m changing my entire blog to non-GMO friendly and more “vegan / vegetarian” recipes. No, I haven’t personally decided to go vegetarian or vegan but I am choosing to eliminate meats from our meal plans. I do commend you if you are vegan or vegetarian.

Either way, welcome to the newly updated Bella’s Apron blog. Support me while I buy and cook a more holistic / organic / non-GMO recipes, while I try to cut out the fast “mystery” processed foods, and support my local farmers markets. Give me some feedback! What are your thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear back from you.

Chicken Lemon Rice

September 4, 2017

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Chicken Lemon Rice
Chicken lemon rice is an iconic comfort soup found at most coney islands or Greek restaurants.  It's the perfect soup for the days when you have a cold and/or need something warm and comforting. Fun fact, did you know the Greek name for this soup is Avgolemono meaning egg-lemon sauce?
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil and toss in chopped onions. Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
    In a large soup pot, heat oil and toss in chopped onions. Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in broth, rice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked and tender.
    Add in broth, rice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked and tender.
  3. While rice is cooking, in a small bowl, beat the egg. Mix in lemon and lemon zest. Ladle some soup into the small bowl and stir well. Pour mixture into the pot and stir well. You will notice the soup will thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add shredded chicken.
    Add shredded chicken.
  5. Add in parsley and stir in more salt, pepper, or lemon if desired. Serve while hot. Enjoy!
    Add in parsley and stir in more salt, pepper, or lemon if desired.

Serve while hot. Enjoy!
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Avocado Egg Bagel

August 7, 2017
Avocado Egg Bagel | Bellasapron.com
Course

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Avocado Egg Bagel
Enjoy this tasty avocado egg bagel morning, noon, or night.  You can have eggs or bagels anytime of the day.
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mash avocado with salt and pepper.
    In a small bowl, mash avocado with salt and pepper.
  2. Fry eggs to liking. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
    Fry eggs to liking. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Slice bagels in half and toast. Add cheese and one egg on each bagel.
    Slice bagels in half and toast.

Add cheese and one egg on each bagel.
  4. Smear avocado mash on each bagel.
    Smear avocado mash on each bagel.
  5. Enjoy with a large cup of coffee!
    Enjoy with a large cup of coffee!
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Easy Baked Ziti with Ricotta

July 19, 2017
pasta| Bellasapron.com
Cuisine
Course

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Pasta with Sauce and Ricotta
A toddler approved meal!  Pasta with any tomato sauce, ricotta, and hidden veggies.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is it's easy, I can alter it based on what veggies I want to add, and I can add ricotta or cottage cheese.  Ricotta and cottage cheese are packed with protein and are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and selenium. If you want to add meat to it, go ahead! ....I also forgot to mention that it's delicious too!
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta until al dente following directions on box. Once cooked, drain pasta and set aside.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta until al dente following directions on box. Once cooked, drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Add tomato sauce gradually and to preference (you may not need to use the whole jar). Also mix in shredded cheese and ricotta. Note: Any store boat tomato sauce works or you can make your own!
    Add tomato sauce gradually and to preference (you may not need to use the whole jar). Also mix in shredded cheese and ricotta.

Note: Any store boat tomato sauce works or you can make your own!
  3. Transfer pasta to a 9 x 13 oven dish. Sprinkle lightly with more shredded cheese, if desired. Optional: add any sauteed mushrooms or cooked, diced sausage
    Transfer pasta to a 9 x 13 oven dish. Sprinkle lightly with more shredded cheese, if desired.

Optional: add any sauteed mushrooms or cooked, diced sausage
  4. Top with more cheese. Bake for 15 mins or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
    Top with more cheese.

Bake for 15 mins or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

This recipe has a perfect base for an easy dinner and perfect weeknight leftovers.  Ricotta can be swapped for cottage cheese.  The cheese can even be opted out if you are not a fan.  Any sauteed veggies can be added like mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.  Add a protein of choice to make it more filling. I like adding cooked Italian turkey sausage for an healthy, flavorful mix.

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Oven Roasted Sausage with Vegetables

July 5, 2017
Oven Roasted Sausage with Vegetables | Bellasapron.com

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Oven Roasted Sausage with Vegetables
Oven roasted sausage with vegetables is the perfect weeknight dinner.  You cannot beat a meal cooked within 30 minutes and left with one dirty pan to clean up.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, and Herd De Provence.
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with foil.

In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, and Herd De Provence.
  2. Line the pan with all the diced veggies. Toss vegetables in the seasonings mix and olive oil. Note: Make sure the veggies are evenly diced for even cooking.
    Line the pan with all the diced veggies. Toss vegetables in the seasonings mix and olive oil.

Note: Make sure the veggies are evenly diced for even cooking.
  3. Lay the sausage on top of the veggies. Pierce the sausage with a knife.
    Lay the sausage on top of the veggies. Pierce the sausage with a knife.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked. Note: Cooking time vary based on type of meat. Note II: Half way through cooking, flip the sausage over to the other side to brown evenly.
    Bake for 30 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

Note: Cooking time vary based on type of meat.

Note II: Half way through cooking, flip the sausage over to the other side to brown evenly.
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