Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chickpea Ragout

2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs dried minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cans (15oz each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup bulgur
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1) Add the broth and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the bulgur, mixing thoroughly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Sprinkle with cumin and stir to mellow.
3) Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, thyme, honey and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 4 minutes.
4) Taste the chickpeas and adjust the seasonings as needed. Stir in the parsley. Serve over bulgur in shallow bowls.

Review: I originally wanted to make this last night, as I was feeling lazy and this is a quick dish. However, Mike had class late and I couldn't figure out where he put the chickpeas (turns out, in the pantry with the front of the label hidden!). The recipe originally calls to be served over couscous. Alas, couscous has been banned from "the diet." It went well with the bulgur and didn't have any particularly strong taste. Next time I may add more cumin to spice it up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bulgur Primavera

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 zucchini, quartered, , cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bulgur
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
3 scallions, chopped
salt and pepper
2 Tbs butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs dried chives
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil

1) Add the broth and water to a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, then add the bulgur, mixing thoroughly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender. Add the butter, chives and basil, mixing thoroughly.
2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and scallions, cooking for one minute. Then, add the asparagus, beans, zucchini and peas, and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until they are bright green and just starting to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Stir the bulgur and vegetables together in a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve at once.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vegetable & Hazelnut Loaf

2 Tbs coconut oil, plus some for greasing the pan
2 Tbs dried minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 Tbs whole wheat flour
15oz can strained diced tomatoes
2 cups bread crumbs
2 carrots, grated
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground
1 Tbs dark soy sauce
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

1) Oil a 1-lb loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat.
3) Put the bread crumbs, carrots, hazelnuts, soy sauce and cilantro in a bowl. Add the tomato mixture and stir well. Let cool slightly, then beat in the egg and season with salt and pepper.
4) Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the surface. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Turn the loaf out onto a serving dish, slice and serve immediately.

Review: As evidenced by the below photo, I didn't have much success in getting the loaf to be solid. The bottom stayed in the pan, while the rest oozed out. Hmm, didn't seem to affect the yum factor, though. I'm not sure what went wrong, but we couldn't slice this and ate it with a spoon. Although, that seems to happen every time I make a loaf. I may just give up on the idea. Better luck to anyone who'd like to give this a try!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Toasted Pine Nut & Vegetable Bulgur

1/2 cup dried green lentils
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini, sliced
15oz can diced tomatoes
14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup bulgur
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil

1) Put the lentils into a pan with plenty of cold water, bring to a boil, and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.
2) Meanwhile, toss pine nuts into a small skillet over medium heat. Turn frequently, and watch constantly as they brown quickly. Tip the pine nuts into a small dish once they're evenly browned.
3) Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, and zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, or until tender and the zucchini have browned slightly. Add the tomatoes and artichoke, and heat through thoroughly for 5 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, in a stockpot, add the bulgur, stock and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until fully cooked.
5) Drain the lentils and stir into the bulgur. Stir in the basil and season well with pepper. Mix in the vegetables and pine nuts. Serve at once.

Review: We doubled the lentils, because we really like lentils. We also let them soak for 24 hours, because we have a history of lentils taking over an hour to cook. This recipe made at least 4 servings (we eat big bowls) and we were amazed by how much food we had! This was hearty, but had a fancy taste to it. Plus, with so many dirty dishes, I felt like I made something extravagant.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kidney Bean Bulgur

4 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs dried minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup bulgur
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
15oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup cashews

1) Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan. Add the onion and half the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Then, add the bulgur, stock and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes (covered), or until fully cooked.
2) Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a heavy-bottom skillet. Add the bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and the remaining garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes.
3) Once the bulgur is done, mix the vegetables into the bulgur pot. Add the beans, parsley and cashews. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until hot. Serve at once.

Review: We bought raw cashews from the bulk food bins. They became so soft in this dish, it was really amazing. This was a good hearty dish, that was originally a risotto recipe. I hate risotto, because I end up stirring for what feels like half a day. And, Mike has eliminated rice from the house because it has too many carbs. I've been tweaking a lot of recipes to utilize bulgur and they all have come out nicely!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Artichoke & Olive Spaghetti

2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs lemon juice
3 zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
2 Tbs tomato paste
14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 can small black olives
12oz spaghetti
2 Tbs minced basil

1) Heat 1 Tbs of the oil in a large skillet and gently cook the onion, garlic, lemon juice, and zucchini for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
2) Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and add the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Gently stir in the artichoke hearts, basil and olives, and cook for 5 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, bring a large, heavy-bottom pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, return to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender, but still firm to the bite. Drain well, toss in the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
4) Transfer the spaghetti to a warmed serving bowl and top with the vegetable sauce.

Review: This recipe originally called for baby eggplants quartered, but eggplant is something neither Mike nor I enjoy. My friend Teresa suggested substituting zucchini in eggplant recipes. I now think she's a genius. This was such a great dish, I couldn't even imagine it made any other way. I really liked the addition of olives. Yummy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Radiatore With Pumpkin Sauce

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, very finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb 12 oz pumpkin, unprepared weight
12 oz dried radiatore
generous 3/4 cup light cream
4 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish

1) Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom pan over low heat. Add the shallots, sprinkle with a little salt, cover and cook, stirring frequently, for 25-30 minutes.
2) Scoop out and discard the seeds from the pumpkin. Peel and finely chop the flesh. Tip the pumpkin into the pan. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, return to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain thoroughly, reserving about 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid.
4) Stir the cream, grated Parmesan cheese and parsley into the pumpkin sauce and season with salt and pepper. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add some or all of the reserved cooking liquid and stir. Tip in the pasta and toss for 1 minute. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley, with extra Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.

Review: I love pumpkin, but hate that I only get to eat it in the fall. I figured I could tweak this recipe and use canned pumpkin, since it's a sauce. I used two cans and eliminated 45 minutes of cooking! I probably should have used 1 can, since this came out mostly sauce. I used extra cream, instead of reserved cooking liquid to make it less thick. Unfortunately, Mike helped me cook and kept commenting on the color and texture, insisting it looked like baby poo. This led to us being fearful to taste it! It's not so bad, after we added more salt and cheese. I think it would have been yummier if I'd only used one can, as the ingredients weren't proportionate. I guess I'll just have to make it again!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Zucchini & Cheese Gratin

4 Tbs butter
6 zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper
2 Tbs chopped tarragon
2 cups Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs

1) Melt the butter in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and saute for 4-6 minutes, turning the slices over occasionally, until colored on both sides. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
2) Spread half the zucchini over the bottom of a greased gratin dish. Sprinkle with half the herbs and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Repeat these layers once more.
3) Mix the milk, cream and eggs together and add salt and pepper. Pour this liquid over the zucchini, then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
4) Bake the gratin in a preheated oven (350F) for 35-45 minutes, or until it is set in the center and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving straight from the dish.

Review: Once again, I'm frustrated with Idaho's selections. We had to use Parmesan, simply because we couldn't find Gruyere (we checked two stores!). But, the Parmesan worked well, and was probably cheaper. This didn't seem like it made much, but we got 3 servings (2 for dinner and 1 for lunch tomorrow). The small portions were oddly filling. I can't complain, but you'll want to double the ingredients if you want more than 3 servings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pasta Shells With Black-Eyed Peas & Artichokes

1 cup diced smoked mozzarella cheese
15 1/2 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, lightly crushed
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
14 oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 to 2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
12 oz small pasta shells

1) Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, measure out 1/4 cup black-eyed peas and mash with fork in small bowl; set mashed and whole black-eyed peas aside.
3) In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, caraway seeds and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 to 60 seconds.
4) Add artichoke hearts and reserved mashed and whole black-eyed peas; stir well. Add broth and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, vinegar and pepper.
5) Add artichoke mixture and mozzarella to pasta, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Review: I'm loving smoked mozzarella. This was also an easy dish, especially since Mike helped. I always get him to mash things, and make the pasta. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Garden Penne Pasta

2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs dried minced onion
1 cup sliced baby carrots, cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1 medium sized zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
3/4 cup Merlot
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 cup shelled edamame
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions

1) Heat oil and crushed red pepper in a 5-qt saucepan over medium-high heat, 1 minute. Add garlic and onion, and saute for 1 minute. Add carrots and zucchini, and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add tomatoes, and spoon in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low, fill paste can with Merlot and pour into saucepan. Add balsamic vinegar, and mix thoroughly. If using frozen edamame, cook according to package directions, and set aside.
2) Cook sauce 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add edamame, basil, parsley, thyme and salt, and cook sauce 10 minutes longer.
3) To serve, combine sauce with pasta.

Review: Mike ate all the baby carrots, so our dish didn't include them. We doubled the edamame, instead. Mmm. This was pretty good, though the sauce was a bit thick. I'd contemplate leaving out the tomato paste.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Casserole

1 jar (6 1/2 oz) marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Tbs dried minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp oregano leaves
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1) Drain artichoke hearts, reserving marinade; set artichokes aside. Place marinade in a wide frying pan and add mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
2) Squeeze spinach to remove moisture. Add spinach to mushroom mixture along with soup, sour cream, eggs, oregano, pepper and lemon juice. Stir until well blended.
3) Spoon half the spinach mixture into a greased 1 1/2 quart shallow casserole. Arrange artichokes on top and spoon remaining spinach mixture over them. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake, uncovered, in at 325F for 35 to 40 minutes or until custard is set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Review: Ha, this recipe originally called for "crushed croutons." Hmm, seasoned breadcrumbs, anyone? I really felt like this didn't make enough food, even when I doubled the sour cream. Yet, when I began shoveling it into my mouth, I found it to be quite filling. I was pleasantly surprised. Though I will double the ingredients next time, just to have twice the yumminess.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Smoked Mozzarella Snap Pea Pasta

1 box short pasta (rotini, elbow, etc)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 lb sugar snap peas, quartered
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
4 oz smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, and saute onions, garlic and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft. Add snap peas, salt and pepper, and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
3) Mix vegetable mixture and pasta together. Turn into greased casserole dish and bake for 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Review: This was originally a sandwich recipe (minus the pasta, put everything into pitas and broil). I'm not a fan of making sandwiches and was glad to see this could be adapted to pasta. I was also glad to find that our local grocery store actually carries smoked mozzarella (I was doubtful). I'll be using it again this week. It reminds me of ham, due to the smoke flavor and it's super chewy. I like the recipe, but this didn't quite "wow" me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sicilian Stir-Fry

1 Tbs coconut oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 large stalks of celery, thinly sliced
16 oz frozen cut green beans
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp minced rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs capers
grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

1) In a large saute pan, briefly warm the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, green beans, garlic, and red pepper flakes and stir fry for about 4 minutes; do not brown.
2) Add the mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, rosemary and salt and continue to stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the red wine, tomatoes, basil and capers. Continue to stir fry until the vegetables are just tender and have released their juices. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Review: I'm always wary of dishes that don't include a starch (pasta, rice, bulgur, etc) as they're not usually filling. This was, and yummy to boot. It made so much food, I was surprised I fit it into our saute pan (and we have an extra-large one!!). This recipe is definitely a keeper. I also can't wait to start using fresh basil, but I only have small sprouts for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mushroom-Broccoli Stroganoff

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs dried minced onion
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp minced basil
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
1 pkg (12 oz) spinach noodles
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta according to package directions, just shy of al dente.
2) Meanwhile, melt butter in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, salt, basil, sour cream, broccoli, pasta, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Mix until blended. Turn into a shallow 3-quart baking dish.
3) Bake casserole, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining cheese and sunflower seeds over top, and continue baking, uncovered for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Review: We used Dreamfield's penne, to cut back on the carbs. I also greased the casserole dish with coconut oil, which spreads like shortening and makes for the easiest clean up I've ever seen. This was not an unhealthy dish, but it felt like it! It was yummy and comforting. I really enjoyed the twist of adding sunflower seeds.

Made this again on 9/14/2010, but used spaghetti broken in half:

Monday, March 9, 2009

April's Spinach Feta Bulgur

3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs dill
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs dried minced onion
2 cups bulgur
10 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1) In a saucepan on medium heat, saute the mushrooms and garlic in 1 Tbs of oil for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the dill and cook for a minute more. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Hold on very low heat until the bulgur is ready.
2) In a saucepan, combine the stock and onions. Bring to a low simmer. Add the bulgur and cover, simmering for ten minutes, or until the bulgur has absorbed all of the liquid.
3) Add the spinach and white wine to the bulgur, cover and cook for about 2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Stir in the feta cheese.
4) Serve each portion of bulgur topped with the sauteed mushrooms.

Review: I gave this my own name, as I tweaked it so much it no longer resembles the original recipe. Rice has been excluded from our household, due to Mike's low-carb diet. This was originally a risotto recipe, but I adapted it to use bulgur. It was really yummy. I liked the dry white wine, as it provided a nice "tang."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pasta Primavera

3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1) Preheat the oven to 450F.
2) In a large bowl, toss all of the vegetables (except the tomatoes) with the oil, salt, pepper, and herbs to coat. Transfer to two large baking sheets and arrange evenly. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.
3) Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and place in large bowl.
4) Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Review: When I first looked at this recipe, the slicing seemed daunting. Mike suggested we invest in a mandoline. Then, I remembered that my food processor came with a whole box of accessories, including some designed for slicing. Mike pulled out all the parts and assembled it. We gave it a test run and was amazed (and delighted). I let Mike do all of the slicing, as he enjoyed "destroying things." The preparation was done in less than 5 minutes! We're going to use this more often! We also used herbes de Provence, as we have a huge jar of it, and really enjoy the flavor. It smelled so good baking! The finished product was awesome and I was so thankful my friend Teresa shared this recipe with me. I would never have thought to use roasted vegetables for pasta primavera.

Friday, March 6, 2009


15oz can white hominy (posole), rinsed and drained
15oz can black, pinto or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 Tbs roasted garlic olive oil
14 1/2oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies or 14 1/2oz can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1) In large saucepan, combine all ingredients, except oil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors blend and ingredients are heated through, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in oil.

Review: I really liked this, as it was just the right combo of salty, spicy and starchy. I accidentally dumped too much chipotle powder, with about 3/4 tsp falling in. It wasn't too bad, though. And, I don't have fancy roasted garlic olive oil, so I just dumped in a minced clove of garlic and omitted the oil. It was fine. I'd actually planned on making this dish about two months ago, but never got around to it. We ran out of recipes this week, so I finally made it tonight. It's a great dish to have as a backup, since none of the ingredients are fresh produce.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cracked Wheat Vegetable Pilaf

2 cups bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling vegetable stock
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced carrots
3 scallions (including tops), thinly sliced
2 cups shredded Cheddar or jack cheese
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1) In a large bowl, combine bulgur and boiling stock. Stirring occasionally, let stand for about 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed.
2) Stir in parsley, bell pepper, carrot, scallions, cheese, corn and egg. Add tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic salt and pepper, and stir gently.
3) Spoon into a shallow, greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cover and bake in a 350F oven until heated through (25 to 30 minutes).

Review: I didn't realize this was supposed to soak for an hour. Apparently, if you follow this method, it will ensure the bulgur grains stay separate and slightly chewy. I didn't quite care and let it boil on the stove for about 10 minutes, until the liquid was gone. I was tired and hungry. This was a really yummy dish. It really seemed like a "comfort food" dish, though it's fairly low-carb (about 14 grams).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Provencale Green Beans & Mushrooms

1 pound green beans
1 Tbs olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups finely diced fresh or canned tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Lightly steam the beans until just tender. Run cold water over the beans to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, reserved beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are hot and the flavors are well combined, about 10 minutes.

Review: Mike found the longest green beans I've ever seen! Some were close to a foot long, so I had to chop my beans into 2 to 3 inch long pieces. We also only used one shallot, as we've never tried them before. It wasn't as strong as an onion, so I liked it. We also used coconut oil for the first time, as it seems to have more benefits than olive oil when used for cooking. It was awesome, we really like it and have switched for good! We'll still use olive oil for all of our sauces and dressings. This was a yummy dish, that only really made 3 servings. It could easily be doubled, though.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hot Salad

1/2 medium-sized cauliflower
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cucumber
4 carrots
2 Tbs butter
salt and pepper

3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs light soy sauce
1 tsp superfine sugar
salt and pepper

1) Cut the cauliflower into small florets, using a sharp knife. Seed the bell peppers and cut the flesh into thin slices. Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Thinly slice the carrots lengthways.
2) Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the cauliflower florets, bell peppers, cucumber and carrots and fry over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes, until tender, but still firm to the bite. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 3 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4) Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish, pour over the dressing, toss to mix well and serve immediately.

Review: I hate cucumbers, so I just left them out. After I was done cooking, I realized I should have substituted zucchini for the cucumber. Oops. This was tasty, but not very filling. I'd suggest it as a side dish instead of a main event. I baked biscuits afterwards, since I was so hungry (and desperately craving carbs).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Zucchini Fiesta Salad

1/2 pound each small zucchini and yellow squash, cut crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
dash each of ground black pepper and ground cumin
1 scallion (including top), thinly sliced
1/3 cup diced green chilies
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, quartered
3oz cream cheese, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
1 small avocado
baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

1) Steam zucchini and yellow squash over boiling water until crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Plunge into ice water to cool; drain well.
2) In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Add drained zucchini and yellow squash and stir lightly: chill for 30 minutes. Add onion, chilies, olives, and cheese. Peel and pit avocado; cut into small cubes. Add to salad and mix lightly.
3) To serve, serve over a bed of baby spinach leaves. Garnish with cilantro.

Review: Initially, this tasted similar to egg salad. Then, I think the lemon juice and cream cheese decided to duke it out. I no longer liked it as much. I think it'd be much better without the lemon juice, and stick with the rest of the ingredients.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pasta & Veggie Salad

1 lb dried pasta such as farfalle, rotini, twists or shells
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbs with minced garlic
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 green, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup minced onion
1 tomato, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbs fresh snipped chives
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil

1) Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 Tbs oil mixed with garlic.
2) In bowl, combine carrot, corn, pepper, onion, tomato, chickpeas and chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well. Add pasta and toss to combine.
3) To make vinaigrette, mix remaining oil, vinegar, garlic and basil in bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and blend well. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss well. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Review: I left out the onions, as usual. I used rotini (Dreamfields, for the low GI index), green bell peppers, and canned tomatoes. I didn't toss the pasta with oil and garlic, since I had everything mixed together in a bowl, waiting for the pasta. After mixing it all together, I tossed the bowl in the fridge for the 30 minutes. Mmm, yummy. This also made a lot of food, as we both had seconds and there's enough for both of us to have lunch tomorrow, plus a bowl for Mike's dinner, as he has a late class. Great!