Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Another win from Pioneer Woman. Andy approved wholeheartedly, eating 2 bowls of this the night I made it for dinner. It's very filling for a chilly holiday season.

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

So this kind of recipe has spoiled me because I've fallen in love with the taste of freshly made sauce for pasta. There's not a whole lot of spices involved but there is flavor where it counts. It is kind of time consuming because you need to prepare the meatballs first. (Of course, you could just be lazy and sub it with frozen ones you can buy at the store too.) What this recipe doesn't communicate though is the metric ton of meatballs that it makes because I filled a large jelly roll pan full of these. In turn, it feels like there is not enough sauce to accommodate said metric ton of meatballs. To remedy that, this time around I doubled the sauce recipe and now the ratio seems right. Serve with green salad and/or garlic bread.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Makes: 6 servings
From: Betty Crocker

The Sauce:
tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
clove garlic, finely chopped
can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained
can (6 ounces) tomato paste
cup chopped fresh parsley
cup water
teaspoon sugar
teaspoon salt
teaspoon dried basil leaves
teaspoon pepper
package (16 ounces) spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese

The Meatballs:
1 1/2
pounds ground beef
cup dry bread crumbs
cup milk
tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
teaspoon salt
teaspoon dried oregano leaves
teaspoon pepper
medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

Prepare Meatballs. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients except spaghetti and cheese, breaking up tomatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add meatballs to sauce. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package. Place spaghetti on large platter. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

This post is chiefly to showcase the AWESOME Apple Dumpling recipe I discovered at Pioneer Woman but to be fair, we cooked several different things for Thanksgiving that were pretty tasty. It was tough to pick sides and in the end, we chose too many! We did learn a few things though since this was the very first Thanksgiving we've ever cooked. Some of the recipes will be linked below.

The Menu:

Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
Roasted Butternut Squash
Cranberry Relish
Chive Biscuits
Yam Gratin with Gruyere
Green Beans Amandine
Roasted Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Dumplings

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chickpea Picata

Another awesome recipe from the ladies at Post Punk Kitchen. Andy loves this one and I just made it again the other night. Do follow the recommendation of serving on mashed potatoes, it is brilliant.

Chickpea Picata
From: Post Punk Kitchen
Serves: 4 (Small)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
A few dashes fresh black pepper
Generous pinch of dried thyme
1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup capers with a little brine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups arugula

Cooking spray

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium. Saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the breadcrumbs and toast them by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker.

Add the vegetable broth and wine, salt, black pepper and thyme. Turn up heat and bring to a rolling boil and let the sauce reduce by 1/2, it should take about 7 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and capers to heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon and turn off the heat.

If serving with mashed potatoes, place the arugula in a wide bowl. Place mashed potatoes on top, and ladle picata over the potatoes. The arugula will wilt and it will be lovely. If you are serving solo, just pour right over the arugula.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Manzana Verde Chili

A mild vegan chili with green apples? INSANITY. But bear with me. It definitely strays from the conventional idea of chili so its unique flavor may not be for everybody. Andy chose this as something new for us to try. This was also the first time cooking with tomatillos. Such a strange little fruit.

While I worked on the chili, Andy worked on the cornbread. It was moist and savory. An excellent pairing. The only change we made to the recipe was we subbed regular moo milk in for the soy milk because we do not like soy milk. The recipe is also found in that brilliant vegan cookcook.

Seriously, everybody should buy it.

Manzana Verde Chili

From: The Veganomicon

1 lb baby Yukon golds, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 T vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped into 1" pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 t salt
1/3 c dry white wine
1 lb tomatillos, papery skin removed, washed, chopped into 1/2" to 3/4" pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, quartered, and sliced thinly
2 c vegetable broth
1 c loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 c shopped scallions
1 (15 oz) can small white beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
Avocado slices for garnish

Place the chopped potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil, covered, for a little less than 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. Of course, you should be preparing everything else while it is boiling.

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, jalapenos, and poblanos in oil for about 10 minutes, until everything is softened and the onions are slightly browned.

Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Saute for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and tomatillos, raise the heat a bit to let the wine reduce and the tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes.

Add the apples, vegetable broth, scallions, and 1/2 c of cilantro. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything. If you don't have one, let the mixture cool slightly and pulse in a blender or food processor.

Taste for sweetness/tartness. Tomatillos are sometimes bitter; if that is the case, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and that should level things out. Add the cooked potatoes and the beans, simmer for a few more minutes, until everything is heated through.

Add the remaining cilantro and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the avocado and scallions, and serve.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

Andy specifically requested this dish. I love it too because the squash gives it that taste of autumn. It is cooked with wine so for my friends that do not imbibe, this is probably not for you.

So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash by Ina Garten.

I almost forgot! You're probably scratching your heads about saffron and gagging at the price of it. I know we did the first time. However if you happen to be near an ethnic market or happen to have a well stocked latino foods section in your local grocery store, you can find it cheaper there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cream of Tomato Soup

Look, it is an update! I took a little vacation from cooking for a few weeks because I didn't want to end up hating it. Honestly no matter how efficient I do the dishes or clean-up, it is awful. But I digress. I saw this recipe doing some lazy browsing one morning.

It came out well. Perhaps I need to add some other spices though because basil and cloves just didn't do it for me. Here's some solid tips straight from my experience:

-The tomato paste is a must if you want a rich tomato flavor.
-The Grilled Cheese recommedation? DO IT! So good.

Cream of Tomato Soup
From: The Kitchn
serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons flour
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in puree
Pinch of baking soda
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup milk, plus up to 1/2 cup more as needed
Tomato paste, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for about five minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and wilted. Add the basil and cloves and cook another minute or two until fragrant, then add the flour. Continue cooking for another two minutes, stirring, and then add the tomatoes, followed by the baking soda and the stock.

Lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes or so. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or using a stick blender in the pot, off the heat. Return the soup to the heat and add the milk, stirring to blend. Add more milk or stock if the soup seems too thick. Add a little tomato paste if it needs more tomato flavor. Add some freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste. Serve hot with optional garnishes, listed below.

Absolutely at its best when serves with grilled cheese sandwiches.

• Be sure to use good quality canned tomatoes and try for tomatoes packed in puree, which will add to the tomato flavor. (This may be a good recipe to use passata.) I use Muir Glen's Fire Roasted Tomatoes, which add a nice depth of flavor and are not overly smoky.

• I don't always have a rib of celery on hand, so I have been known to skip it. When I do, I will often add a healthy pinch of celery seed to the onions when cooking or celery salt as a garnish.

• Although it is not traditional, I like to garnish this soup with a little plain yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche. As mentioned, celery salt is a good garnish, as well as chooped celery leaves.

• It's easy to play with the texture of this soup. You can puree it in a blender, which makes a nice, slightly rough texture. If you would like it even smoother, you can also strain it through a sieve. The sieve (or a food mill) can also be used if you don't have a blender, or feel like having an unplugged kind of day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Congo Bars

These are great. The recipe itself is pretty versatile so if you don't want to do chocolate chips you could use something else. The taste and texture is somewhere between a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie. The only caveat is they may take a hair longer in the oven. It seems to vary on the oven so watch them carefully. You know what else is nice about this recipe? There are instructions for those who may not have the luxury of a mixer.

Congo Bars
From: Bakerella

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

By mixer:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips and then pecans.

By hand:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.
Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.
Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lemon Burst Cookies

These are super duper easy. You don't have to be good at baking to make these awesome cookies. I can't stop eating them whenever I pass by the kitchen. Sorry, I didn't count how many of these soft delicious cookies the recipe made.

Here's a few notes on the recipe based on my experience though. First, it may take longer than 10-12 mins. in the oven because it was about 15 mins. for me. And secondly, allow them to cool on your baking sheet for about 5 mins. so they get more solid. If they are still way too soft, they may need to head back into the oven for a couple of minutes more.

Lemon Burst Cookies
From: TidyMom

Lemon Burst Cookies

1 box Lemon Cake Mix
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 egg
1/3 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

Preheat oven to 350°.

In medium bowl, beat cool whip, egg and cake mix until well blended. Dough will be thick and sticky. Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10- 12 minutes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Black Beans in Adobo Sauce

This really is the perfect lazy yet tasty dinner. I made this the other night because I had some spare chipotle chile in adobo and black beans thanks to Mama J and Papa B before they moved to Utah. It really only makes about 4 small servings on its own however you can easily round out the meal with some rice and some kind of veggie side. I did a simple salad and brown rice, for example.

I could have made something else but this really doesn't take much time and I wanted to just be with Andy more when he got home. He's been working a lot in the last couple weeks because it's serious crunch time for a project.

Lastly and most importantly, we had some red sangria with this dish. Oh yeah.


Black Beans in Adobo Sauce
Serves: 4 small servings
From: The VeganomiconLink


2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
3 cups cold water
1 large onion, peeled and halved
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle adobo sauce

1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 tablespoons adobo sauce


Combine the beans, onion, bay leaf and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let boil for 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes, until the beans are very tender and about half the water has evaporated. Remove the bay leaf and onion before serving.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the chipotle adobo sauce: In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce, cook for 30 seconds, and remove from heat.

Allow to cool a few minutes, empty the sauce into a food processor bowl, and briefly pulse until a chunky sauce forms. You may also use an immersion blender to do this. Serve the sauce drizzled over individual servings of beans.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans

Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans
Serves: 6
From: The Veganomicon (by the ladies of Post Punk Kitchen)

2 bulbs of garlic
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced as small as possible
1 c. long grain brown rice
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tsp. salt
Several pinches of ground black pepper
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can navy beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 ½ c.)

Preheat oven 425º. Remove as much of the papery skin from the garlic bulbs as possible and slice off about a ½ an inch from the top of the bulbs so the top of your cloves are visible. Drizzle the top with olive oil. Wrap in a sheet of foil and roast in oven about 40-45 minutes. I recommend placing your foil bundle on a pan just in case any olive oil leaks.

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions in oil about 5-7 minutes, until translucent.

Add the rice, and seasonings through pepper and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, then fill up one of the cans with water twice (56 ounces) and add the water.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer at least 45 minutes, or until rice is nearly tender.

While the soup is simmering, remove roasted garlic from foil. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin into a small bowl and smash with a fork to a relatively smooth consistency. Add to the soup when the rice is nearly tender.

When the rice is completely cooked, add the beans and heat through.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lighter Stuffed Shells

Lighter Stuffed Shells
From: The Kitchn
Serves 6-8

12-ounce box jumbo pasta shells
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese, whole or 2%
1 onion, diced small
10 ounces mushrooms, diced small
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch nutmeg
10 ounces baby spinach
3/4 cup (about 6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
32-ounce can crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, or your favorite jarred tomato sauce
1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375°.

Boil a large pot of water, add a tablespoon of salt, and cook the pasta shells until barely al dente. You want them a little under-cooked for this dish because they will absorb more liquid in the oven. Set the shells aside to cool.

Set a strainer over a bowl. Pour the cottage cheese into the strainer and allow it to drain for at least 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a healthy pinch of salt, and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and turned golden, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, nutmeg, and another good pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Turn the heat down to medium. Add as much of the spinach as will fit in the pan and cover with a lid. After a minute or two, uncover and stir the spinach. As it wilts and creates more space, add the remaining spinach to the pan. Continue stirring and steaming until all the spinach is wilted. Uncover the pan and stir the spinach for a few minutes to let the residual liquid evaporate. Remove from heat.

Combine the drained cottage cheese, the cooked vegetables, and the mozzarella in a large bowl. Taste a spoonful and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Pour half of the can of tomatoes into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole or other baking dish. Scoop a healthy spoonful (2-3 tablespoons) of the filling into each shell and arrange them side-by-side in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and cover tightly with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered. The tomato sauce should be bubbling around the edges and look thickened in the pan. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top of the shells in the last few minutes of cooking. Allow the casserole to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peach Crunch Cake

I have made this using various fruits, cake mixes and toppings. Quick, easy, and good. Bakerella is one of my favorite baking blogs because it is just so pretty and fun. Plus, her recipes are just so fabulously indulgent.


Peach Crunch Cake
From: Bakerella

24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve warm or cold… with or without ice cream.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Red Lentil Thai Chili

This is an odd fusion dish but so very tasty.


Red Lentil Thai Chili
From: Post Punk Kitchen

Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15 oz can low-fat coconut milk
28 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.

Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.

Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Dal Palak

No witty post today. I am crunched for time. As always, serve this with a nice warm naan bread.


Dal Palak
From: The Kitchn
Makes 8 cups

1 large onion, diced
2 packages (about 16 ounces) white button or baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized red or white potatoes, cubed
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coriander
1 Tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
10 ounce bunch of spinach (or more if desired!), cleaned and cut into ribbons
1 cup red lentils
3 cups of water or broth
1-2 Tablespoons salt
3-4 scallions, chopped

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, the mushrooms, and one teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms show spots of golden brown. Add the potatoes and another teaspoon of salt, and cook until the edges are just starting to turn translucent.

Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the ginger, garlic, spices, and one more teaspoon of salt. Cook until the garlic is fragrant (30 seconds), and then stir the spices into the mix. Add the diced tomatoes in their juices, the spinach, and the lentils. Stir to combine everything and then top with three cups of water or broth.

Turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes until the lentils and potatoes are cooked through. Taste the soup to adjust the seasonings and salt. Stir in half of the chopped scallions, reserving the rest to use as garnish.

Serve dal along with rice, naan, or chapatis.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Black Bean Enchiladas

I was surprised with how easy this came together. I also believe possibilities could be endless if wanting to change up the flavor with different beans and vegetables. I adapted this from a slow cooker recipe at The Kitchn after that version didn't quite meet our expectations. I quite approve of our oven version though! Bonus? This recipe could easily be vegetarian, vegan, or omni with the know-how. We generally do the vegetarian version around here.


Black Bean Enchiladas
Adapted From: The Kitchn
Serves 4-6

1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small (any color)
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded and divided - we like monterey jack
2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa
12 6”-8” tortillas, flour or corn
Optional: 1 cup leftover meat - chicken, pork, hamburger, or shredded beef

Heat saute pan or frying pan over medium heat with olive oil. Saute onions and peppers till softened with salt and black pepper. About 5-8 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, meat (if using), and just 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour about a cup of salsa (half a jar) into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan and spread it around evenly.

Preheat oven at 400°.

Scoop about 1/3 cup into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and nestle it into the bottom of the baking pan. Repeat with the half of the remaining filling, rolling tortillas until the entire bottom of of the backing dish is filled. Spread another cup of salsa over this layer and sprinkle it with another 1/2 cup of cheese.

Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas to create a second layer. Top with another cup of salsa, but reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for later. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with leftover cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Serve the enchiladas with the remaining salsa. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ethiopian Spicy Tomato Lentil Stew

I fell in love with this stew. It's hearty and full of fragrant, exotic flavor. I've used it with fresh tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes. With tomatoes in season, I'd go with that for the taste and canned for time saving. Definitely serve with naan bread.

Ethiopian Spicy Tomato Lentil Stew
From: Post Punk Kitchen

1 cup brown lentils
1 large yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup peanut oil (vegetable oil will do)
10 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock or 1 cup water + 2 veg boullion cubes
1 cup frozen green peas

Spice Blend
2 tsp ground cumin
2 teaspoons hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cardomom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Boil the lentils for about 45 minutes or until tender.

In a large pot, over med heat saute the onions and carrots for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and spice blend. Saute 5 more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, cook 5 more minutes. Add tomato paste and mix, then add the water. Simmer Until bubbling. Add the cooked lentils and green peas, simmer 15 more minutes.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fava Beans with Tomatoes

I made this savory dip alongside a cold veggie salad, homemade hummus, and baked pita chips for a tapas inspired dinner. This was my fantastic discovery of fava beans. Before I had only knew fava beans as apart of a certain disturbing "Silence of the Lambs" movie quote. However, there is no cannibalism involved here so rejoice! It's just pure vegan goodness. If you have an international aisle at your supermarket that has a Mediterranean section or perhaps an Arab run market nearby, buy the cans of small fava beans. I know I could not find small fava beans at my grocery store in the non-international aisle.

If tomatoes are in season, you may want to follow the original blogger's advice about using a real tomato and tomato sauce. I have yet to try it this way because it was during late winter when I made this. I do recommend serving it with warm pitas or even pita chips.


Fava Beans with Tomatoes
From: Cheap Healthy Good

1 1/2 cup fava beans, mashed
16 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1) Drain and rinse fava beans; then mash and set aside.

2) In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

3) Mix in mashed beans with 1/4 cup water (and chopped tomato, if in season). Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring until thick. Take care; this stuff is splattery.

4) When the mixture is the consistency you like for bean dip, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped parsley.

5) Serve with warm pita bread as part of tapas spread with other small bites, like hummus, baba ghanouj, wilted greens, and stewed chickpeas.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Favorite Turkey Burgers

I love to indulge on holidays. But this is one burger that is in rotation around our household. I had been anti-ground turkey till this recipe changed my mind. They are full of flavor and do not really need much in the way of condiments. Andy likes to just put a slab of tomato on it normally but for the little gathering with my family yesterday, we melted sliced Gruyere on it and topped it with sauteed onion.

The recipe uses a grill but you can do it on a pan just fine.

Happy Independence Day!


Favorite Turkey Burgers
From: Cheap Healthy Good

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey (93 percent lean)
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for grates (if grilling)

1) Preheat grill (high heat).

2) In a medium bowl, mix turkey, Gruyere, scallions, breadcrumbs, mustard, and garlic with a fork. Season with lots of salt and pepper. With your hands, mold meat into 6 burgers, each about 1-inch thick.

3) "Lightly oil the grill." Sear burgers over hottest part, about 1 or 2 minutes each side, until browned. Transfer burgers to a less-hot section of the grill and keep cooking until done. This could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your grill is. Keep an eye on it.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mushroom Bhaji

My only recommendation for this recipe is to double it if you want leftovers. It only makes 2 very modest servings. It reheats very well. I serve it over brown rice.


Mushroom Bhaji
From: Cheap Healthy Good

14 ounces white button mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon minced green onions or chives
Cooked rice of choice

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Saute onion and jalapeno for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they being to soften. Add garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, coriander, chile powder, and stir thoroughly. Cook for 1 more minute.

Add mushrooms, tomato paste, salt, and water. Stir thoroughly and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring after 5. There should be a stew/sauce formed, and mushrooms should be plump and just tender. If not, take lid off and cook another few minutes.

Serve over rice. Sprinkle with scallions.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ratatouille Supreme with Pepper Jack

This is the third ratatouille recipe I've tried. Mind you, the first two weren't bad either. The first recipe was one for a slow cooker but we are currently without one. (Recommendation: Do not purchase a Kitchenaid Slow Cooker. There is a flaw in the ceramic pot that will cause it to crack over time. We replaced the ceramic pot at $80 once and the same thing happened to the replacement later so it was retired permanently.) And the second recipe was more of a quickie version. I believe this recipe here has become my favorite because of the flavor and casserole form. Generally I caution anybody cooking Paula Deen's recipes to remember moderation because they aren't entirely healthy for you but soul satisfying delicious if you're a fan of old fashioned comfort food. However, this is a lightened version from her sons.


Ratatouille Supreme with Pepper Jack
From: The Deen Bros.

1 small baguette, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic (5 chopped, 1 whole)
2 pounds eggplant, trimmed and cubed
1 pound zucchini or yellow squash, trimmed and cubed
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
11⁄4 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Olive oil for brushing
2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until pale golden. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onions; cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, rosemary sprig, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook about 25 minutes more or until vegetables are fork-tender.

While the mixture cooks, chop the remaining garlic clove; set aside. Uncover the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Cook about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the remaining garlic, the basil, lemon juice, and chopped rosemary.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 2- to 3-quart casserole dish. Arrange the toasted baguette slices over top. Brush the bread with additional olive oil. Top evenly with pepper Jack cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bread is golden and the cheese has melted.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Mushroom Barley Soup with Fresh Herbs

This is something new I tried for us last week. I will state now that I am far from vegan however that doesn't keep me from indulging in such recipes. I am always wanting to cook things that are tasty and not entirely terrible for you! Andy and I are pretty adventurous or perhaps he is just a wonderfully tolerant husband.

This recipe comes from Post Punk Kitchen. I cannot recommend their website and cookbooks enough. Andy bought me The Veganomicon for Xmas a couple of years ago and it is a great cookbook. I haven't picked up the latest release from them, Appetite For Reduction, but it is d
efinitely going onto my wishlist.


Mushroom Barley Soup with Fresh Herbs
From: Post Punk Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 vidalia onion, thinly sliced (a regular yellow onion is fine, too!)
8 oz cremini mushroom, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 average sized zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 average sized tomato, diced
3/4 cups uncooked pearled (quick cooking) barley
6 cups vegetable broth
Fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Herb mix:
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and zucchini, and cook until slightly softened and some of the moisture has been released, about 5 more minutes. Mix in the garlic and saute for a minute or so.

Add celery, tomato, barley, broth, pepper and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, add herbs, cover again and cook until barley is tender, about 10 minutes. Salt and season to taste. For best results, let it sit for at least 10 minutes uncovered so that the flavors can marry. Serve garnished with extra herbs.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili

I made this when D and A were in from London for their impromptu nuptials. We were so excited to see D again and meet the lovely A in the flesh. It was a wonderful ceremony and we were very grateful to be apart of it as photographers as well! The icing on the cake was being able to have them over to our new home before they went home. It meant so much to me for Andy to have some sibling time with D. And bonus! I got to hang out with A the whole time. (She really is amazing.)


Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili
From: Cheap Healthy Good

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans beans, rinsed*
2-3 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

*The beans I use every time are one can each of pinto, black, and red kidney. Great combo of beans.

1) Pour tomatoes and juices into a food processor or blender. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until it is a little chunky.

2) In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, beans, chipotles, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and cover. Heat over high until it starts boiling. Drop heat to medium-low and simmer for the time being.

3) In a different large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. When very hot, add onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir. Saute until onions are soft and a little translucent, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic. Stir. Saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4) Pour tomato mixture into onion pot. Scrape browned bits with the back of your spoon, if you have 'em. Drop heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, until chili has a more chili-like consistency. Stir occasionally.

5) After 15 minutes, add corn and cilantro. Stir. Heat until corn is warmed through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


I recommend serving with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and sour cream.

Welcome Friends & Family

I know I do not necessarily need yet another blog to keep up with but people always seem to be interested in what I am making for dinner. So I think it will be easier for us all to just come to one place for the recipes I've used. Enjoy.