Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quick, Healthy and Easy Lunches

Hello Friends!

 One of the comments I get all the time is "I wish I had time to..." (Fill in the blank).  Busy moms feel pressure from so many different directions that things suffer.  When we get so busy that we can't find time to _____ (again, fill in the blank), it is time to shift our priorities slightly.  This doesn't neccessarily mean a big shift, because my priorities include God, my family and friends and the running of the household, but if I find myself spending too much time in the running of the household, family or God suffer.  So, as with anything else, I must seek balance in all things.  I've found ways to simplify the running of the house, and the biggest time eater around here is still cooking.  When you make things from scratch, not relying on pre-made, packaged conveniences, you spend a lot more time in the kitchen.  So, I need easy and fast lunches from time to time so that I can get other things done but still provide healthful food for the boys.  Here are two of our favorites, Focaccia and Taco Rice.

Focaccia Bread

1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water (not hot)
2 cups all purpose flour (can substitute up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

(optional ingredients: 2 tsp. rosemary, 1 jar (or store-bought can) diced tomatoes or fresh, 1/2 onion, thinly sliced)
 1. In a small bowl, dissolve honey and yeast in warm water.  Let stand for about 5-10 minutes, until mixture gets bubbly.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour, mix well. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. (add rosemary if using)  When the dough comes together turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.

3. Slightly oil another large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About 30 minutes

4. Preheat oven to 475*.

5. Punch down dough and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Pat dough onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. (add tomatoes and onion on top of focaccia before baking if desired)

6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, less time for moister bread and longer for a crunchier, darker crust.

You can also use this as a pizza crust or top with parmesan and mozzarella chees and cut into bread sticks.

Taco Rice

Brown Rice (prepared)

1 jar (or store bought can) diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons (or a store bought packet) taco seasoning

2 cups black beans

Mix everything together and serve warm on top of shredded lettuce.  You can top this with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapenos.

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