Sofrito is a pasty mixture used to season many Latin dishes.
I don’t like to buy premixed seasoning. I usually mix desired ingredients into whatever dish I’m making. The up side is that I get fresh-tasting food. The down side is that if I’m not feeling up to cooking from scratch, I revert to substitutes. My substitute for sofrito is below.
Here’s my quick recipe for sofrito paste.
Cut the onions, peppers, tomatoes into fourths and break garlic into fourths. Put all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed and pasty.
If the mixture becomes too thick to continue blending but doesn’t look thoroughly mixed, spoon it out into a glass bowl and continue to mix with a spoon or spatula.
The amount needed for different recipes varies greatly on the recipe and the serving size of the recipe.
You can store whatever you don’t use in a jar in the refrigerator or in a freezer bag and frozen.
*My sofrito confession: When I’m caught craving sofrito but I haven’t made any, I substitute chunky salsa** in my desired spiciness. While sofrito is usually pasty, I use chunky salsa because regular salsa is too watery. I’d rather have chunky than watery.
**Yes. I also make salsa and pico de gallo from scratch
I make sweet potato pie two ways- with and without roasted bananas. This is the version without bananas. (Putting bananas in the pie adds sweetness with less refined sugar).
• 4 large sweet potatoes
• 2 sticks of butter (salted or unsalted)
• 2 teaspoons nutmeg
• 3 tablespoons cinnamon +/- to taste
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 pack frozen pie crust
* you will need aluminum foil and cookie sheets
Take the pie crusts out of the freezer, separate and allow them to defrost. Boil water and pre-heat the oven to 375 (temperature varies by region). Skin and boil potatoes. I like to cut them in halves or fourths so they will boil quicker. Put the potatoes in the boiling water with a couple pinches of salt. Boil the potatoes until they are soft. I like to poke them with a fork to check.
When the sweet potatoes are completely soft, drain the water from the pot and put the potatoes in a large bowl. Use a fork to break the potatoes apart. At this point, I put the cookie sheets in the oven. Use a cake mixer to whip the potatoes until creamy. Start the mixer on low then increase the speed as the potatoes soften. Whip on high for at least a minute or two. Use a fork to check for lumps; continue to mix as necessary. Add the softened butter, and a couple pinches of salt. Use the mixer to combine. Add the nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Use the mixer to thoroughly combine and then taste. Add more cinnamon and sugar to taste.
Pour the mixture into the pie crusts. Tear or cut one inch strips of aluminum foil. Use the strips of aluminum foil to wrap the edges of the pie crusts; this stops the edges from browning too quickly. Place the pies on the cookie sheets. The purpose of doing this is that the preheated sheets brown the bottom of the pie crust while the pie cooks. Bake for 15-20 minutes (time varies by region). After baking the pies, I like to turn the broiler on and let the pies broil for about 2 minutes (or until the top of the pies brown slightly). This creates a film on the top of the pie. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.
Bag any left over pie filling in a freezer bag and freeze. Be sure to label the bag before you fill it with what it is and the date you are bagging it.
I make this gnocchi soup recipe once a month or so; but definitely in the Fall and Winter. It’s super easy and tastes delicious! If you cook the vegetarian variation in a slow cooker, it should be ready in 30 minutes if you put it on high. This, like most of my recipes, this can be frozen and reheated.
* add other seasoning and ingredients to taste; I add salt and pepper
You will begin by pouring the cream of mushroom soup into the slow cooker. Then, fill the large soup can with water and pour it into the slow cooker twice. Stir the soup until it is consistent. Now, stir in the remaining ingredients. If you want this meal quickly, put the slow cooker on high; otherwise put it on low and let it simmer for hours. (If you use raw chicken , it will take several hours to cook.)
After the soup is cooked, I remove all except what I plan to eat that day from the baking dish and I let it cool in a bowl to prepare it for bagging. Bag the food in a freezer bag the sized bags needed to feed your household. Be sure to label the bag before you fill it with what it is and the date you are bagging it.
I LOVE any type of organization because it helps so much. I have had a weekly meal planner on the refrigerator so that I can plan meals and list missing ingredients I need to buy for the meals. I also have a list of food in the freezer so I can plan meals.
Now that my children are older, we take turns making meals so that the responsibility doesn’t all fall on me (disabled mom). My family marks the meal planner with their name, what they plan to make, and what ingredients they may need to make it. Everyone has different cooking abilities so the meals vary greatly, and that’s fine.
What this does for me is not only self care and organizational but financial. It helps us not buy duplicate items, therefore saving money. If we do not have money to buy groceries, we can look at the the contents of the refrigerator and freezer and figure out what ingredients we have to make meals.
When my family writes what they believe we need to buy, it’s like opening negotiations. I can search for the items they say they need or even suggest substitutions.
On my Patreon account, I have included a picture our weekly meal calendar as well as how I make it reusable. This post will be for my patrons only. My lowest tier is $3; please consider becoming a patron.
I make smoothies for my family and myself often. None of these recipes are for weight loss or control, just condensed nutrition. I only prepare what can be eaten in a single sitting because in the refrigerator it may separate or get watery and in the freezer, it’ll get too hard. I freeze most of the ingredients so that I don’t have to worry about having fresh ingredients. This also means I don’t need ice to make the smoothies cold. I know many people hate spinach and kale. Believe me; you can’t taste it. A smoothie is a great opportunity to incorporate foods you hate to eat.
When I worked, I would prepare them at home and drink them over several hours or mix them in a single sized blender at school when I got up too early and didn’t want to disturb my family. (one note about the blender I’m recommending: I totally love it! The company sells individual parts if you lose the lid, want extra lids or break the cup)
Some of my favorite ingredients are
• Spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
• Orange/ Cranberry juice
• Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
• Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
• Grapes (fresh or frozen)
• Bananas (I use fresh out you can freeze bananas)
* all ingredients shouldn’t be frozen, it’s harder to blend
My only caution as someone with GERD, I’d watch the acidic products. You may want to substitute water or milk for the juice.
The amount of each ingredient really depends on how many servings you’re making. I use about ¼ or less liquid (I start with as little as possible and add if the ingredients won’t mix), ½ a banana for a single serving, a whole banana for more. I add all of the other ingredients to taste.
Always start by putting a liquid ingredient into the blender first. Chop large or harder ingredients before tossing them in.
Variations and suggestion:
Try adding vegetables you don’t like; you won’t be able to taste them- avocado, cooked carrots or broccoli or sweet potatoes, etc.
Try adding different fruit; melons, pineapples or mangos, etc.
I make this broccoli and rice recipe once every couple weeks or so; it’s one of my favorites. It’s super easy and tastes awesome! I have always cooked it in the oven but yesterday; I decided to make it last minute so I did it on the stovetop. This, like most of my recipes, this can be frozen and reheated.
I figured I'd switch things up and give you an easy idea for protein. One of the least respected quick meals is a protein and a can of vegetables or frozen vegetables. I like to buy large packs meat and separate the meat into the amounts needed for individual meals and freeze them. My mother in law was a chef and after we got married, my husband let me in on one of her secrets; she remakes individual hamburger patties, wraps them individually and freezes them. We don't eat beef much anymore but you can steal that if you'd like.
When I need a portion to make a meal, I just pull the freezer bag out and defrost the meat. If it's chicken, I toss some olive oil and butter and spices into the bag and let it marinate for overnight or for a few hours. If it's fish, steak or pork, I usually do a dry marinate with some spices. If it's a burger, I usually season it with season salt as I'm about to cook it.
Did you know George Foreman grills are still a thing?! I don't use one anymore, it either grill in a pan or I fry or we grill on the barbecue pit. But since we're all about easy meals, why not take your meat and cook it quickly and easily on a Foreman grill?
However you cook, honestly protein can be the basis for a quick easy meal. I try to keep plenty of canned and frozen vegetables on hand at all times. Canned vegetables can be as simple as opening the can and microwaving. Frozen only requires a few minutes on the stove to warm.
Even on the worst flare days, I'm able to take my individually wrapped fish, season it and toss it on the stove for a few minutes; bonus points to me if I make vegetables with it.
You could even make an extra portion or two of any of these proteins and put it in the refrigerator for your next meal or a quick meal a couple days later. Be sure to label the container with what it is and the date you are putting it until the refrigerator so you are wondering how long it's been in there.
I make my pot pie using my easy stew. I make them after the stew cools and freeze them or eat them immediately. This is how.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the stew into your frozen pie crusts until the filling is slightly below the rim. If you choose, add a top crust by laying it over the pie and pressing the dough into the bottom dough. If you add a top crust, slice about a 1 inch long slice in the top crust or poke holes with a fork. This will allow heat to escape and prevent a mess. Whether you add a top crust or not, rip foil into half inch or so strips and wrap around the edges of the crust so that it doesn't burn. Bake for 25-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
*If you choose to freeze these for later, be sure to label the pies beforehand with what it is and the date.
I made this stew yesterday. It's a great meal you can make ahead or make extra then freeze. I also use it in another recipe I'll share soon. If you are preparing this days before you want to eat it, put the pot or crock pot on low. If it's being prepared early on the day of, put the slow cooker on high.
First, you will need to make the stew base. Pour a small amount (about 2 cups) of water or broth into the crock pot. Whisk in the envelop of brown gravy into the pot. Then whisk in flour slowly until the mixture is slightly pasty. (gravy thickens naturally) Now pour in more water / broth until the pot is half full and mix. Dump the meat and vegetables into your slow cooker. Add water/ broth until the pot is full and stir.
Cook for at least a few hours. I remove all except what I plan to eat that day from the slow cooker and I let it cool in a bowl to prepare it for bagging. Bag the food in a freezer bag the sized bags needed to feed your household. Be sure to label the bag before you fill it with what it is and the date you are bagging it.
I use my chili recipe to make this recipe I'll share soon. You can assemble this, cook it and freeze it or eat it immediately.
• cooked chili
• about 3 cans of corn (may need more or less)
• about 4 boxes of corn muffin mix
• milk (amount required by muffin recipe)
• eggs (amount required by muffin recipe)
Mix the corn muffin mix. Pour enough chili to cover about ½ inch into a dish. (I use these pie dishes for several recipes like this because they're easy to clean.) Then pour enough corn to cover the chili. Finally, pour about ½ inch of corn muffin mix on top; do not over fill. Bake following corn muffin instructions. Reduce bake time by about 10 minutes if you plan to freeze it to eat it later. Partially cooking it makes for better freezing and will ensure the cornbread doesn't burn when reheating. Cover the food with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze. Be sure to label what it is and the date before freezing it. Whenever you fully cook it, I enjoy rubbing butter over the top of the cornbread as soon as I pull it out of the oven.
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