Sunday, May 24, 2015

The best and easiest from-scratch staple recipes

Daniel and I will be married 7 years this August, which means I've been cooking daily meals (and most everything else we eat) almost completely from scratch for that long.  And I still don't like to cook.  My goal in cooking always is to get the absolute best results with the least amount of effort. Over the years I've narrowed down my recipes to a few staples that I make over and over again.  Most of these staples  I make at least once a week, and all of them are made completely from scratch with easy-to-get ingredients.  Here is a list of my favorites:

White Sandwich Bread:  I messed about with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for a while, and though the bread tasted nice and came together quickly, I could never produce consistent results.  All I want is a nice sandwich bread, nothing fancy.  This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread; I make it once a week and done. The bread is soft but not crumbly, perfect for sandwiches.  I use margarine instead of butter-- the bread stays fresh a bit longer that way.

Flour Tortillas: I like this recipe because it uses milk instead of large amounts of oil or shortening (most flour tortillas in Belize are made with lard, shortening or oil), and the tortillas have a really nice flavor.  I usually double it, this recipe as is only makes 8 very small tortillas.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:  Yes, this is a STAPLE.  This recipe was posted 1 month ago and I have already made it 3 times (double batches :)  These are the perfect chocolate chip cookies.  Every recipe I have tried from her blog (Smitten Kitchen) has come out great, I'm a big fan.

Pickled Cabbage Salad: This has been a great way to get more vegetables in our diet.  I make up a big bowl on Saturday after grabbing the ingredients at the market, and stick it in the fridge.  It just gets better the longer it stays in the fridge... we usually eat it all before then but I have had batches still fresh after 2 weeks.  The girls love to crunch on cabbage pieces. I modified it a bit-- I use half apple cider vinegar and half white vinegar, and I usually only add onions and peppers with the cabbage to make things a bit easier.

Greek Fake Lentil Soup: This soup is simple to make, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it tastes really good and is filling.

Beans: There is a batch in the crock pot right now.

And bonus-- my favorite pizza dough recipe, given to me by a friend:

Add 1 cup warm water to 1 tablespoon yeast, let proof.  Mix in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.  Start with 2 cups flour, add up to 1/2 cup more flour as needed (you can also add more water if needed) and 1 tablespoon garlic powder.  Mix till it makes a ball, no need to knead.   You can use this right away but it tastes better if you let it rise a few hours.  Makes 1 pizza.

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