Cooking with Jazz

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and A LOT has happened in my life in the past few months. In August, I packed up my bags, said goodbye to my friends and family, and moved to New Orleans. I’ve been trying to get myself situated over the past several weeks, but there has been no shortage in good cookin’ (I’ve just neglected to update my blog).

I’ve wanted to make baked macaroni and cheese for years, but I’ve always been too cheap to buy all the ingredients (I know, it’s ridiculous considering how much I buy in groceries anyway—but still). Today I said screw it and grabbed all the odds and ends I never have lying around my house. The recipe was adapted from the Kitchn’s recipe, found here.

~Baked Pasta Casserole~
8 servings

- 12 oz. tri-color rotini (or other small pasta of your choosing)
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 large handfuls chopped kale
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2c. mild cheddar, shredded
- 1 1/2c. low fat cottage cheese
- 3/4c. low fat sour cream
- 3 red bell peppers
- salt, pepper, oregano to taste
- nutritional yeast 

1. First, heat oven to 500°. Remove stems from red bell peppers and cut into long, thin strips. Place in cast iron skillet or small baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring semi-frequently with tongs.

2. While peppers are roasting, boil rotini until al dente (you don’t want to overcook it, because it will continue to cook in the oven later). Drain immediately and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add spinach and kale to cooked pasta, cover, and let greens wilt.

4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, 2 cups cheddar, cottage cheese, sour cream, and spices. Slowly mix together with pasta.

5. Place pasta mixture in a greased 3-quart casserole dish.

6. When peppers are very soft, hold them in batches with a set of tongs and slice the peppers into smaller chunks. Gently stir peppers into casserole.

7. Reduce heat to 350°. Top casserole with remaining cheddar and a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast (enough to evenly cover the top of the casserole).

8. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

9. Let cool 10-20 minutes before serving to allow casserole to set.

Enjoy! This is comfort food at its finest!

Jazz

Yes! I am still alive! Yes! I still cook! I’ve just been juggling life, living, and cooking when I have time… and clearly not making time to take photos! 

~Jasmine’s Carrot Cake~
This cake makes one 9” round. Double for a layer cake.

For the cake:
- 1 c. sugar (I used 2/3 c. cane and 1/3 c. brown sugar)
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- generous pinch of ginger and cloves
- 1 c. grated carrots (freshly grated instead of pre-packaged works best)
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 1/4 c. crushed pineapple
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans

For the frosting:
- 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 to 2 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- SPRINKLES (optional…)

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Mix together sugar, oil and eggs. 

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

3. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture.

4. Add carrots, pineapple, raisins and nuts. Mix well.

5. Pour into a well-greased 9” cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cake will spring back after touching and a toothpick will come out of the center clean when done.

6. LET COOL COMPLETELY.

7. Make the frosting: cream together butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar while mixing. Mix in milk. Add spices and sprinkles.

8. Frost the cake and chill before serving.

MMM. YUM. YES. You’re welcome.

This picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to the deliciousness of the chicken + blueberry chutney combo. But this is just to give you an idea of what it looks like. 
I had a bunch of blueberries that were on their way out, and I really wanted a sweet addition to my dinner (as if sweet potatoes aren’t sweet enough…) Anyway, I played around with the idea of a chutney, but I needed it to be compliant with my diet and the ingredients I had in my pantry (because I was not about to drive to the store for more food!). This is what I came up with — and believe you me, the white wine marinated chicken went AMAZINGLY with the blueberry chutney.
~ Blueberry Chutney ~makes  approx. 1 cup
- 1-2 stalks of green onions, chopped (green parts only for Low Fodmap)- 1/2 c. blueberries- 1 tbsp crystallized ginger, diced- 1/8 c. brown sugar- 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar- 1 tsp. thyme- 1/4 tsp. salt- 1 1/2 tsp. corn starch- 1 lemon wedge
1. In a saucepan, sauté green onions until fragrant.
2. Add blueberries, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, thyme and salt. 
3. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. When mixture begins to thicken (and blueberries have all burst), slowly stir in corn starch until well incorporated.
5. Remove from heat and add juice of lemon wedge.
6. Serve hot or cold, use as a topping for meats or a dipping for breads, hush puppies, or veggies.
Bon appétit!

This picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to the deliciousness of the chicken + blueberry chutney combo. But this is just to give you an idea of what it looks like. 

I had a bunch of blueberries that were on their way out, and I really wanted a sweet addition to my dinner (as if sweet potatoes aren’t sweet enough…) Anyway, I played around with the idea of a chutney, but I needed it to be compliant with my diet and the ingredients I had in my pantry (because I was not about to drive to the store for more food!). This is what I came up with — and believe you me, the white wine marinated chicken went AMAZINGLY with the blueberry chutney.

~ Blueberry Chutney ~
makes  approx. 1 cup

- 1-2 stalks of green onions, chopped (green parts only for Low Fodmap)
- 1/2 c. blueberries
- 1 tbsp crystallized ginger, diced
- 1/8 c. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
- 1 lemon wedge

1. In a saucepan, sauté green onions until fragrant.

2. Add blueberries, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, thyme and salt. 

3. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

4. When mixture begins to thicken (and blueberries have all burst), slowly stir in corn starch until well incorporated.

5. Remove from heat and add juice of lemon wedge.

6. Serve hot or cold, use as a topping for meats or a dipping for breads, hush puppies, or veggies.

Bon appétit!

Baked eggs where have you been my whole life?!?!

A good friend of mine just got engaged, and before me and some other gals went to help her try on dresses, she invited us over for breakfast. Baked eggs are what she prepared, and I was so intrigued and perplexed and wondered why I had never heard of such a thing! Needless to say, I loved the texture and decided to try my hand at my own version. It’s so easy, anyone could do it!

Here’s my favorite combination thus far:

~ Baked Eggs ~

- eggs
- milk, half and half, cream, or any non-dairy alternative
- cheese (optional)
- cherry tomatoes
- basil leaves

1. Spray or butter a casserole dish (the size depends on how many eggs you are preparing)

2. Carefully crack each egg into dish, being careful not to crack the yolk.

3. Spoon a tablespoon of cream over the eggs (1 tbsp per egg)

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

5. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes for a runny yolk, 15-20 min for a semi-firm yolk, and 20-25 min for a hard yolk.

6. Serve over a piece of butter toast, and voila!

Seriously I cannot explain the texture of this incredible egg. The white is soft and slightly runny, yet the yolk is firm and smooth like a boiled egg! It’s amazing!

~Banana-Oat-Blueberry Muffins~

Gluten Free and Low FODMAP! :) And they don’t taste like gritty like most gluten-free muffins I’ve had (thank god).

Makes 9-12 muffins

- 1 c. brown rice flour
- 1/4 c. rolled oats
- 2 tbsp. oat bran
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt 
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. cane sugar
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 c. blueberries (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix brown rice flour, oats, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. In a separate bowl, mash bananas. Then add egg, sugar, butter, and vanilla.

3. Slowly add banana mixture to dry mixture.

4. Stir in blueberries.

5. Bake at 350F for ~25 minutes.

Bon appétit!

After learning that cold brewed coffee was lower in acidity and possibly caffeine (ie. better on the stomach), I HAD to give it a go. Though honestly, I’m not sure about the low caffeine myth, as I’m pretty jittery while typing this…
Basically, the name explains the whole process. The coffee is brewed over a long period of time (12+ hours) at room temperature. The ending result is a heavily concentrated coffee that can then be mixed with equal parts with ice, water, or milk. It’s perfect for the summertime, because I hate drinking hot coffee when I’m already sweating from the summer heat.
For the coffee:
- 1 pitcher, french press, or half gallon jar- 1 1/3 cups medium to fine ground coffee- 4 1/3 cups filtered water
1. Fill bottom of press or jar with coffee grounds2. Slowly pour filtered water over grounds3. Mix until just incorporated and DON’T MESS WITH AGAIN (until the process is finished)4. Cover press with plastic wrap or jar with lid (if using a French press, don’t put its lid on - use plastic wrap)5. Let sit overnight for at least 12 hours (I let mine sit for about 15 hours)6. When done brewing, slowly pour coffee through fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or paper towels, into a bowl or another jar. This process takes a few minutes, just let it do its thang. 7. When done filtering, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10-14 days.

For the simple syrup:
- 1 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)- 1 cup water
1. Bring sugar and water to a gentle boil, stirring constantly until boiling point2. Remove from heat and let cool3. When cooled, transfer to a jar and store4. To prolong the life, add a tablespoon of vodka right after saucepan is removed from heat.5. Without vodka, should last a couple weeks. With vodka, should last quite a bit longer.

For Jasmine’s iced coffee:
- 1/2 c. cold brew concentrate- 1/2 c. organic soymilk- 1 tsp. simple syrup- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract- lots of ice!
Bon appétit!

After learning that cold brewed coffee was lower in acidity and possibly caffeine (ie. better on the stomach), I HAD to give it a go. Though honestly, I’m not sure about the low caffeine myth, as I’m pretty jittery while typing this…

Basically, the name explains the whole process. The coffee is brewed over a long period of time (12+ hours) at room temperature. The ending result is a heavily concentrated coffee that can then be mixed with equal parts with ice, water, or milk. It’s perfect for the summertime, because I hate drinking hot coffee when I’m already sweating from the summer heat.

For the coffee:

- 1 pitcher, french press, or half gallon jar
- 1 1/3 cups medium to fine ground coffee
- 4 1/3 cups filtered water

1. Fill bottom of press or jar with coffee grounds
2. Slowly pour filtered water over grounds
3. Mix until just incorporated and DON’T MESS WITH AGAIN (until the process is finished)
4. Cover press with plastic wrap or jar with lid (if using a French press, don’t put its lid on - use plastic wrap)
5. Let sit overnight for at least 12 hours (I let mine sit for about 15 hours)
6. When done brewing, slowly pour coffee through fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or paper towels, into a bowl or another jar. This process takes a few minutes, just let it do its thang. 
7. When done filtering, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10-14 days.

For the simple syrup:

- 1 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
- 1 cup water

1. Bring sugar and water to a gentle boil, stirring constantly until boiling point
2. Remove from heat and let cool
3. When cooled, transfer to a jar and store
4. To prolong the life, add a tablespoon of vodka right after saucepan is removed from heat.
5. Without vodka, should last a couple weeks. With vodka, should last quite a bit longer.

For Jasmine’s iced coffee:

- 1/2 c. cold brew concentrate
- 1/2 c. organic soymilk
- 1 tsp. simple syrup
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- lots of ice!

Bon appétit!

It’s been a while! I’ve been dealing with a lot of unexpected issues in my life, including losses in the family, health problems, and unemployment, but I’m trying to stay positive in spite of these shortcomings.
In regards to my health, I’ve suffered through stomach problems throughout most of my life. It goes through phases of cooperating and plain out hating me. Recently, I discovered the FODMAP diet (which is apparently a new fad now - but bear with me). By eliminating certain foods with high amounts of fructose, lactose, etc, you can heal your gut. So I figured I might as well give it a go. Things couldn’t get much worse anyway.
I’m a few days into the “elimination phase” which essentially means limiting or entirely cutting out certain “trigger” foods (like apples, milk, broccoli, wheat). I’m actually feeling pretty good! No crazy bloating or stomach cramps. Let’s see if it lasts…
So back to the topic at hand. I’m sure many of you have heard of the 1 banana + 2 egg pancake recipe that’s been going around. I kept thinking there’s no way it’d really be like a pancake - but more like a banana omelette. Well, I was wrong! I tried it out and it was pretty good! But not good enough for me. So I played around with it and came up with something really delicious, and with a little more umph to start your day.
~Gluten-Free Pancakes~(makes 4 small pancakes)
- 1 banana, mashed- 2 eggs, mixed until fluffy- 1 tbsp rolled GF oats- 1 tbsp brown rice flour- 1-2 tsp dried unsweetened cranberries- Sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves, ginger- Splash of vanilla
1. Mash the banana 2. In a separate bowl whip eggs3. Combine eggs, banana, and all remaining ingredients4. Cook in skillet on medium heat for 30 sec - 1 min on each side
Bon appetit!

It’s been a while! I’ve been dealing with a lot of unexpected issues in my life, including losses in the family, health problems, and unemployment, but I’m trying to stay positive in spite of these shortcomings.

In regards to my health, I’ve suffered through stomach problems throughout most of my life. It goes through phases of cooperating and plain out hating me. Recently, I discovered the FODMAP diet (which is apparently a new fad now - but bear with me). By eliminating certain foods with high amounts of fructose, lactose, etc, you can heal your gut. So I figured I might as well give it a go. Things couldn’t get much worse anyway.

I’m a few days into the “elimination phase” which essentially means limiting or entirely cutting out certain “trigger” foods (like apples, milk, broccoli, wheat). I’m actually feeling pretty good! No crazy bloating or stomach cramps. Let’s see if it lasts…

So back to the topic at hand. I’m sure many of you have heard of the 1 banana + 2 egg pancake recipe that’s been going around. I kept thinking there’s no way it’d really be like a pancake - but more like a banana omelette. Well, I was wrong! I tried it out and it was pretty good! But not good enough for me. So I played around with it and came up with something really delicious, and with a little more umph to start your day.

~Gluten-Free Pancakes~
(makes 4 small pancakes)

- 1 banana, mashed
- 2 eggs, mixed until fluffy
- 1 tbsp rolled GF oats
- 1 tbsp brown rice flour
- 1-2 tsp dried unsweetened cranberries
- Sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves, ginger
- Splash of vanilla

1. Mash the banana 
2. In a separate bowl whip eggs
3. Combine eggs, banana, and all remaining ingredients
4. Cook in skillet on medium heat for 30 sec - 1 min on each side

Bon appetit!

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~SWEET POTATO BURGERS~

Makes 4 burgers

I’ve made these a few times, but this last batch was by far my favorite (and is often requested by my partner). They’re very easy to make, very easy to manipulate, nutritious and delicious! :)

- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 can white beans (I use Great Northern, other times I’ve used cannellini)
- 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (or tahini, but I prefer the subtle crunch in the burgers from the peanuts)
- 1 tsp vital wheat gluten (optional, helps to keep the burger together a little better)
- 1-2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. cane sugar or maple syrup
- Whatever spices you prefer! I used salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper, and some Italian herbs
- Panko or bread crumbs (optional)

1. Bake sweet potato (425 for about 40 minutes). Peel and mash.

2. Add beans and peanut butter. Mash and mix well, but don’t turn the beans to complete mush (think black bean burger, little pieces of beans here and there).

3. Add remaining ingredients. Roll in panko or bread crumbs.

4. Pan fry in 1-2 tbsp oil for about 5 minutes on each side. The burgers will be much softer than a typical veggie burger. Just be careful when transferring to a bun!

I served mine with kale that I lightly steamed then stir-fried in apple cider vinegar with minced garlic.

Bon appétit!

-Jazz

~SMOOTHIES!~

Who says you can only drink beer out of a pint glass?!

I’ve been going a bit crazy with the smoothies lately. Buying large quantities of produce and pulverizing them in a blender. All of these follow a very simple rule of 2+ cups fruit/veggies, 1 cup liquid, 1 cup ice. Blend the produce and liquid first, then add ice. It makes two 16 oz smoothies, so if you live alone half the recipe or store half for later (within 12-24hr).

Here are a few of my favorite combinations over the past few weeks:

Creamy blueberry-banana smoothie (pictured above):
1 banana (the riper, the better)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raw milk (or whole milk, or yogurt)
1 cup ice

Green smoothie:
1 cup kale (**blend with a little bit of water until smooth, then add strawberries & milk**)
1 cup strawberries, leaves removed
1 cup raw milk (or whole milk, or yogurt)
1 cup ice
Drizzle of honey & sprinkle of cinnamon

Pear-pineapple smoothie:
1 pear, diced & core removed
1 cup pineapple
3-4 strawberries, leaves removed
Juice of 1 orange & 3 large carrots
1 cup ice

Pink smoothie (resembles strawberry milk):
1 pear, diced & core removed
1 cup strawberries, leaves removed
1 cup raw milk (or whole milk, or yogurt)
1 cup ice
Sprinkle of cinnamon & cloves

Each 16-oz. serving ranges from 130-200 calories.

BON APPETIT! You won’t get over how delicious these things are. Perfect morning wake-me-up (and not just from the loud bumping of the blender).