Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lasagna With Zucchini & Walnuts

2 medium zucchini
4 tsp olive oil
2 large carrots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups marinara sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 no-boil lasagna noodles (depending on size, enough for three layers)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1) Trim ends from zucchini. Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices. Place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet; brush with 1 tsp of olive oil. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning once. Let zucchini cool before handling.
2) In a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Add marinara sauce, basil and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, toss together the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Reserve one-third of cheese for top; set cheese aside.
3) Grease a 2-quart square baking dish; arrange two noodles in the dish. Spread with one-third of the sauce. Sprinkle with one-third of the nuts. Top with one-third of the zucchini; sprinkle with one-third of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering, alternating strips of zucchini lengthwise and crosswise in each layer and ending with the zucchini.
4) Bake, covered, in a 375F oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes more or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts.

Review: If you're not in the habit of eating with a knife, I'd suggest slicing the zucchini in thin circles, or shredding it. I almost never eat with a knife (not really needed as a vegetarian). When eating this, I'd pick up a piece with a huge slice of zucchini hanging off the side. Not fun. Other than that, this was a very yummy dish. The walnuts were a nice addition. We'll definitely have it again.

I made this again on 11/21/2010, but used zucchini rounds as my last entry suggested.  Oh, it was much easier to eat and super yummy!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Potato Medley

5 large russet potatoes, cubed (mine were Idaho potatoes!)
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 Tbs canola oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

1) In a large pot, boil the potatoes in enough water to cover for 8 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 4 or 5 minutes more; drain.
2) Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the potatoes, broccoli and the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring, until the potatoes become slightly creamy and the ingredients are heated through, about 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Review: This was yummy, except I added too much cayenne after tasting it to find it was bland. Now, it's super spicy. I like it, though. Mike wasn't too happy with the spice factor, though. I'll have to cut back next time!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mint Pesto Pasta

16oz package uncooked linguini pasta
6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
20 fresh basil leaves
10 fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 Tbs Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs ricotta cheese
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place linguini in the pot, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 Tbs water.
2) In a blender or food processor, blend the reserved water, tomatoes, basil, mint, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth. Toss with the cooked pasta to serve.

Review: This was a dish that my husband enjoyed more than I did. The tomatoes didn't seem to belong, but that may be because I love pesto so much and I didn't taste the basil, mint and pine nuts over the taste of tomatoes and garlic. I think I'd leave out the tomatoes and double the rest of the ingredients!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Basmati Rice & Kale Gratin

2 cups vegetable stock
1 diced red bell pepper
2 cups whole-kernel corn
1 1/4 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb kale (or mixed greens)
1 1/4 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
olive oil cooking spray

1) Combine the stock, bell pepper, corn, rice and thyme in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
2) Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash (but do not dry) the kale, and trim and discard the stems. Place the kale in a large pot, cover and cook over medium-high heat until it wilts, about 5 minutes. (The water on the leaves is sufficient to steam the greens.) Drain and coarsely chop. Fluff the rice mixture with a fork.
3) In a large bowl, combine the cooked kale, the rice mixture, ricotta, half of the Parmesan, salt and black pepper. Place in an oiled, 2-quart gratin dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs, and spray well with oil. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Review: This recipe originally called for 4 lbs of kale. I grabbed 3 bunches and only had one pound. I can't even imagine using more than a pound. This was okay, not a dish that wowed me. It was a bit dry, so if I make it again, I would try 3 cups of vegetable broth. Oh, and kale is one nasty green to wash. I had a host of bug eggs and one bug hiding in it's many curls. I might recommend using mixed greens, unless you know your kale is cleaner than what I got.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pasta Primavera

1 9-oz package uncooked fresh linguine
3 Tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
2 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/8 inch
1 medium tomato, cubed 1/2 inch
1 medium red or green pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into thirds
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.
2) Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet heat oil; add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisply tender (3 to 4 minutes). Add squash, tomato, red pepper and asparagus. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender (8 to 10 minutes).
3) Stir in wine, dill, salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through (4 to 5 minutes).
4) Serve over hot cooked linguine with 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Review: Somehow I managed to buy fettuccine instead of linguine. I liked it like that, though. And, I didn't remember last night that I needed dill for this recipe and used it all in last night's dish. Oops. I'm sure this dish would have been better with the dill added. It was yummy. It wasn't spectacular, but it was filling and will make a great lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pasta With Dill & Tomatoes

1 lb uncooked fusilli pasta
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dillweed

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions; drain. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve warm or cold.

Review: This was amazing! Mike threw in some Romano, since we have a lot in the house. I also used roughly 1/2 cup of dill, as that was how much I had on hand. I love dill, so of course, I will rave about it. It gave a great flavor to the dish, without overpowering it. This was also a super easy dish that took no time to prepare. That always wins extra points!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spanakopita Strudel

2 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 10oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4oz low-fat feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
12 phyllo sheets, thawed

1) Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Add leeks, onion and garlic, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Stir in nutmeg, and cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in lemon juice. Transfer to colander, and let cool.
2) Preheat oven to 375. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Press all liquid out of spinach mixture. Transfer to bowl, and stir in eggs, feta and Romano.
3) Spray 1 phyllo sheet with cooking spray. Stack second sheet of phyllo on top. Repeat spraying and stacking until you have 6 layers.
4) Shape half of spinach filling into log on phyllo stack, leaving 1 1/2 inch border around edges. Fold short edges over filling, then roll lengthwise into tight log. Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Cut slashes 1 inch apart on top of strudel with sharp knife. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Review: Spanakopita is one of my favorite dishes. I used to order it when I went to Greek diners in CT, and sometimes bought it frozen at the grocery store (not recommended). I always thought it was too intricate to try on my own and I feared working with phyllo. But, I took on the task this weekend. It was sooooo easy!! It wasn't the nightmare I feared it would be, and this was almost as good as the dishes I got from authentic Greek cooks!! I will totally be making this more often and I'm super happy I gave it a shot!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mexican Pasta

20oz pkg fresh 3-cheese tortellini
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp minced garlic
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tsp chili powder, or to taste
8oz sliced mushrooms
6oz taco-seasoned ground soy "meat"
4oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced, for garnish

1) Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
2) Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic 30 seconds, and add tomatoes and chili powder. Cook 5 to 8 minutes; remove from skillet.
3) Reheat skillet with remaining 1 Tbs oil, and add mushrooms and soy "meat." Saute 2 to 3 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes and cheese; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes more.
4) Spoon equal portions of pasta onto plates; top with "meat" sauce, and garnish with avocado slices.

Review: Oh, this was super yummy!! I wasn't quite sure about the combination of ingredients. It was a really good blend, not too spicy. The avocado on top was definitely a nice touch. And, for all of my meat eating friends, you can substitute ground beef and taco seasoning for the soy "meat." :)

Made again on 2/8/2011, using tricolored, 7 cheese tortellini.  Yum!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Black-Eyed Peas With Herbs & Vegetables

1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 lb rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Combine peas with 6 cups water, garlic, thyme and rosemary in saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil and add 1 tsp salt. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until peas are tender, about 40 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, toss carrots, rutabaga and parsnips with 1 Tbs oil, 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper to taste. Spread vegetables on foil-lined baking sheet, and roast about 40 minutes, or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.
3) Heat remaining 1 Tbs oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes, or until softened. Add onions to peas. Stir in roasted vegetables, and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Remove herb sprigs. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.

Review: Mmm, yummy. I didn't use any fresh herbs, opting for dried herbs and I left them in. I also skipped the whole onion step. The black-eyed peas took close to an hour to cook and I was hungry! So, I just dumped it all together at the end. It's a great medley of tastes and it was really filling. Plus, I used a whole bag of black-eyed peas, so I have plenty of leftovers.