Saturday, February 28, 2009

Linguine With Light Tomato Cream Sauce

10 oz linguine
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 can (32oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 Tbs capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup pine nuts
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

1) Cook linguine, per package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Stir for a moment, then add the tomatoes, bring to a rapid simmer, and cook until reduced to a medium sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream, pesto and capers.
3) Pour the sauce over the hot pasta and toss to combine. Top with the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Review: I don't think I simmered the tomatoes long enough, so my sauce was fairly runny. I adapted the recipe to our tastes, also, as the original called for 2 Tbs of pine nuts. Who uses so little? I almost toasted them, as all of my recent recipes called for toasting and I've grown accustomed to it. They're yummy raw, too, though.

Made again on 2/23/2011, yum!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Southwestern Salsa Pasta

8oz rotini
1 16oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 16oz jar tomato salsa (mild or medium-hot, to taste)
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced

1) Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
2) Meanwhile, combine the beans, corn, salsa, and scallions in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
3) Combine the pasta and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Review: This was yummy, especially when I topped it with shredded cheddar. Mmmm. After eating leftovers, I realized that if I make it again, I'd probably toss some cilantro in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pasta With Asparagus

10 to 12 oz pasta, any short shape
12 to 16 oz asparagus, preferably slender
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, grated fresh Parmesan cheese, or crumbled feta cheese

1) Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
2) Meanwhile, trim the woody ends from the asparagus spears and scrape any tough skin with a vegetable peeler (fresh slender spring asparagus usually needs no scraping). Cut the spears into 1 to 2 inch long pieces.
3) Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Saute over low heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus and a small amount of water. Cover and steam until the asparagus is done to your liking but still bright green.
4) Combine the pasta, asparagus mixture, and cheese in a serving container and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, and serve at once.

Review: Simple, with these ingredients there's no way it wasn't going to be yummy. We used elbow macaroni, 'cause I think it gives it a retro flair. It's a basic that gets underrated and underused.

Made again on 2/22/2011, using rotini and feta:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sweet Potato Salad With Apple & Avocado

1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds
1 medium red apple, diced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 avocado, finely diced

1) Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Add corn, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender. Drain in colander and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well.
2) Toast pumpkin seeds in dry skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until seeds begin to pop. Transfer to plate, and cool.
3) Combine apple, onion, cilantro and lime juice in large bowl. Stir in sweet potatoes, corn and oil, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds just before serving.

Review: This was recommended to serve over a bed of spinach or arugula. I opted for spinach, which blended well. I wasn't quite sold on the blend of ingredients, but noted it was full of "essential fatty acids." I'm glad I took the risk. It's an interesting blend, once the flavors have melded a bit. Initially it seemed like an odd conglomeration of fruit and veggies, but ten minutes later it was a well mixed salad. I bet it will be great for leftovers, cold.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spaghetti With Sauteed Leeks, White Beans & Walnuts

1 Tbs olive oil
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz spaghetti
3 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1) Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leeks, bell pepper and red pepper flakes; saute 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Stir in beans, vegetable broth and garlic. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
2) Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. Divide spaghetti among 4 bowls or plates. Spoon sauce over each serving of pasta, and sprinkle with feta cheese and walnuts.

Review: The recommendation was to use whole wheat spaghetti. We used Dreamfields pasta, which is low carb. This dish was great. Unfortunately, I clogged the garbage disposal tonight with unused leek parts. Mike researched a cure online, while I ran to Wal-Mart for a plunger. Apparently, half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda does the trick. It's all fixed now, luckily.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Zucchini Fettuccine Puttanesca

4-6 zucchini, cut into long, thin strips
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups finely diced fresh or canned tomatoes
3/4 cup kalamata or gaeta olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and halved
2 Tbs capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Steam the zucchini strips until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn it, about 30 seconds.
3) Stir in the tomatoes, olives, capers, basil, red pepper flakes, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved zucchini and cook until heated through, tossing gently to coat the zucchini with the sauce.

Review: Typically, dishes that are solely vegetables (no pasta or grain) aren't very filling. We were prepared to be disappointed, but we ended up surprised! This was a yummy, filling dish. I do have to complain about preparing the zucchini. I used 6, very fat zucchinis and I thought I was never going to be done slicing!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

16 oz sour cream
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 9oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped and divided in half
1 box snack crackers or bag of pita chips

1) Place sour cream, salad dressing mix and half of the chopped peppers in food processor container; cover. Process until smooth, using pulsing action. Transfer to medium bowl.
2) Stir in the remaining peppers; cover.
3) Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until chilled. Serve with crackers or chips.

Review: I've made this several times. After taking it to the ISU PhD interview party, I had to share what's become a notorious dip. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Green Bean Bulgur Pilaf (Low Carb)

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 cup medium bulgur
2 cups boiling water
8 oz green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint

1) In a saucepan, combine the water, dried onion and bulgur. Add the green beans, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover until the green beans are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in the almonds and mint.

Review: I doubled the amount of green beans and almonds, to make it tastier. Mike bought french style frozen green beans, instead of the cut beans, but it blended well. I left the pot on low heat, since the beans were frozen. It worked just fine and everything ended up evenly heated. I liked the coolness of the mint added to what would have been a fairly bland dish.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Many-Vegetable Bulgur Pilaf (Low-Carb)

2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
2 zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup bulgur
1 15oz can chickpeas
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, cabbage, zucchini and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2) Stir in the water, bulgur, chickpeas, ground red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
3) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed by the bulgur.
4) Fluff with a fork. Serve in a large shallow bowl.

Review: This made so much food! We found the fattest zucchini ever at the grocery store today! I was worried that this dish would be bland and found that it was, unfortunately. I added cumin and it made all the difference in the world! It's not for everybody, but Mike and I are convinced that cumin makes everything better.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Garlic Head Broccoli

2 large heads broccoli
1 head of garlic
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth, boiling
sea salt to taste

1) Cut the broccoli into long, thin, uniform spears. Rinse the spears, and shake to remove excess water.
2) Separate the garlic cloves from the head, peel the cloves and cut into quarters.
3) Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat and spread to coat the bottom of the pot. Lay the broccoli spears on the bottom, and arrange the garlic on top of the broccoli. Add the vegetable stock.
4) Cover, and braise the broccoli for 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat, if needed, to prevent burning, and cook to desired texture. Place onto a platter or in a bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Review: Mike bought a bunch of broccoli on the last grocery trip, as he had the goal of snacking on it. A week later, we needed an addition to our meal plan and the broccoli still hadn't been eaten. I perused the dishes on and decided to try this (as we always have tons of garlic on hand). We really liked the dish. The garlic wasn't very strong and I ate all the quarters in my serving. Plus, we both seem to have colds at the moment and I believe broccoli is a good source of Vitamin C and garlic is supposed to help the immune system. What a yummy way to fight off a cold!

Made again on 5/13/2011, and served it over brown rice:

Summer Squash & Corn Saute

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 large green or red bell pepper, cut into short strips
2 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 - 1 1/2 cups uncooked corn kernels
2 medium firm tomatoes, diced

1) Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the bell pepper and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the squash and corn and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are tender-crisp to your liking.
2) Add the tomatoes and continue to saute briefly, just until they have lost their raw quality. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Review: I'm so used to cooking bell peppers and onions together, that I tossed in a big dash of dried minced onions (raw onions make me sick, but dried onions are fine). I think it added to the dish and recommend doing some tinkering. Mike really liked the dish. I have a hard time liking anything that isn't served with something carby. I'll learn to not depend on pasta someday. This was also a super fast dish to cook, as it was done in about ten minutes. It may have helped that I used canned diced tomatoes (organic ones are so cheap at Costco!).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red Beans & Rice Casserole

2 Tbs olive oil
3 red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups onion, white, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
4 dry cups brown rice, cooked
15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz shredded cheddar

1) Preheat oven to 375F.
2) In deep nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook peppers and onions, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until tender.
3) Stir in garlic and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat, then stir in rice, beans and 1 cup cheese.
4) In 2-qt casserole, evenly spoon rice mixture. Bake covered 15 minutes. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Review: This was super yummy, but I also added a bit more chili powder. This was a great "comfort food" dish.

Made again on 1/7/2011:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Long Grain & Wild Rice Salad

1 1/2 cups long-grain and wild rice mix
2 large celery stalks, diced
2 large carrots, finely diced
12 oz jar marinated artichokes, chopped, with liquid
1/4 cup minced parsley or sliced scallion

1) Bring 4 cups water to a simmer in a saucepan. Stir in the rice mixture, cover, and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. If the rice isn't done to your liking, add another 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer until absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool, uncovered, to room temperature.
2) Combine the rice with the remaining ingredients in a serving container and toss well. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate until needed.

Review: This was best once it was refrigerated and allowed to "marinate." I didn't chop my artichokes, since I really like the quartered pieces. I also used parsley, instead of scallions. I always have a bunch frozen, which makes it easy to chop. If it's frozen in a roll, you can just "slice" the roll, effectively chopping frozen parsley. It's so easy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Curried Lentils With Spinach

1 cup brown or red lentils, sorted and rinsed
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 to 2 tsp curry powder, or to taste
2 - 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1) Combine 3 cups water, the lentils, garlic, onion, and curry powder in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer very gently until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes for brown lentils and 20 to 25 minutes for red lentils.
2) Drain the spinach and squeeze out some of the water. Stir into the lentil mixture and season with salt. Cook for another five minutes, and serve.

Review: I hate frozen spinach. For some reason, it always tastes like dirt to me. I assume it's not washed well. Instead, I used a 20 oz bag of baby spinach and wilted it down. That takes about 2 minutes and tastes a lot better. This was a yummy dish and the kitchen smelled a bit like an Indian restaurant!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Raspberry Almond Blondies

9 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 2/3 cups raspberries

1) Preheat oven to 325F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over the sides. Butter parchment.
2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
3) Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in 3/4 cup almonds.
4) Pour batter into prepared dish; smooth top. Scatter berries and remaining 1/4 cup almonds over batter. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 55 to 60 minutes.
5) Let blondies cool 15 minutes. Transfer blondies to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares. Blondies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Review: I won't be eating these. Mike bought a HUGE bag of mixed berries from Costco with the intention of making smoothies for breakfast. Then, he decided he didn't want smoothies. So, I ate all the blackberries and marionberries, but I don't like raspberries. I got invited to a girl party this afternoon, where we're doing facials, pedicures and such. I decided to whip out my Martha Stewart Cookie book to find something to use the raspberries in, to take to the party. This seemed like a winner, though the instructions seemed complicated. I don't have Martha Stewart's kitchen, so there's no parchment paper, paddle attachment (I have a very nice hand mixer, thank you very much), or cake tester in my home. :) I'm sure they're yummy and I'll post a comment later stating what everyone thought. Also, I used whole wheat flour, as I'm using it for almost everything these days. This way, it can be claimed as "healthy."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuscan Vegetable Ragout

1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 16oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15.5oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
2 Tbs coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
1 Tbs capers, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and zucchini, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and artichoke hearts, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
2) Add olives, capers and half the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with remaining parsley.

Review: I used parsley with this, and served this mixed with a box of rotini pasta. It was super yummy and I loved the addition of the capers and olives for a twist of flavor. This made plenty of food, so there's leftovers for lunch.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pistachio Gratin Of Asparagus

1 1/2 lbs slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

Crumb topping:
3 Tbs fine dried bread crumbs
3 Tbs ground pistachios
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt

1) Coat shallow 2-qt gratin dish or baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2) In large skillet, bring half inch of water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and place in prepared dish. Add lemon juice, 2 tsp oil, salt and pepper and toss well. Arrange evenly.
3) Preheat broiler. Make crumb topping: In small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, pistachios, 1 Tbs oil, ginger and salt. Sprinkle evenly over asparagus.
4) Broil until crumbs are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn topping. Serve at once.

Review: I doubled this recipe, since it didn't sound like much food (more like a side dish). I also made the crumb topping in a frying pan, since I felt too lazy for the broiler. It bubbled up really oddly, but came out just fine. I loved the flavor combination in this dish, but it's not a stand-alone dish. I definitely recommend serving it with something more substantial. For us, popcorn helped fluff out the content. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ravioli With Sweet Potato Sauce

1 large sweet potato (about 8 oz)
16oz pkg frozen vegetable-filled ravioli or tortellini
1 Tbs butter
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk (or as needed)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green petite peas, thawed
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1) Pierce several holes in skin of sweet potato with a fork. Microwave sweet potato on high power about 8 minutes or until tender. Plunge potato into a bowl of cold water.
2) Meanwhile, cook frozen pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and return to the pot.
3) In small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4) Peel sweet potato and mash it well in a medium bowl. Stir in garlic and enough milk to achieve the consistency of a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Add sauce to cooked pasta in the pot. Stir in green peas and heat through. Garnish with parsley and serve right away.

Review: Once again, I chose a recipe using frozen ravioli (which doesn't exist in SE Idaho). And, I hate how expensive refrigerated ravioli is, but then remembered seeing it at Costco. $8 for 38oz of the world's largest ravioli. We love Costco and have been learning to shop there more often for bargains like this! We used spinach and cheese ravioli and it was a good balance to the rest of the flavors. The sauce is sweet, with the potato and peas combined. It was easy, however, and made plenty of food. Of course, I now have to find another recipe to try using ravioli, since I have another 19oz left in the fridge. Oh, the possibilities!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Roasted Winter Vegetables

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs dried sage
2 tsp dried thyme
3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 cups peeled and cubed turnips
2 cups cubed potatoes (recommend Yukon gold, Butter, or red-skinned)
grated feta, Parmesan, or Cheddar cheese (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 450F.
2) Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Place the onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips and potatoes in a large bowl. Toss well with the seasoned oil mixture to coat the vegetables evenly. Spread in a single layer on an unoiled shallow 11 x 17 inch baking sheet or use two baking sheets.
3) Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes, until crispy, browned and tender. Serve topped with a little grated cheese, if you wish.

Review: I baked this for 45 minutes and managed to burn a third of it while some still wasn't cooked!! I'd probably try this again at 400F. This was a side dish to our Lightlife Stuffers (soy chicken breast stuffed with cheese and broccoli). We salvaged what we could and loved it. I'm really loving parsnips and turnips, but don't often find them in recipes.