Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week's Planned Menu

Sweet Potatoes With Warm Black Bean Salad

Grilled Goat Cheese & With Fig Preserves

spaghetti with jarred pasta sauce

Rotini Greek Salad

date night  @ Costa Vida

sandwiches & cereal

Greek Pasta With Tomatoes & White Beans

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spicy Shirataki Noodles

4 Tbs tamari
2 1/2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs light brown sugar
2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 Tbs grapeseed oil
2 Tbs chopped jalapeno chile
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 8oz pkg shirataki noodles, prepared according to package directions
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1) Whisk together tamari, lime juice, brown sugar and sriracha in bowl.  Set aside.
2) Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat.  Add jalapeno and garlic, and cook 1 minute.  Add onion and bell peppers, and stir-fry 5 minutes.  Add tamari mixture and shirataki, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, then toss with basil.  

Review:  I'd heard such great things about shirataki noodles and thought they'd be a great addition to our low-carb diet.  Except they're not available locally.  Finally, carried them, but it was 5 bags for $18.61.  I figured that was about the price of Dreamfield's pasta and bought some.  Well, unfortunately the bags are really small.  Two bags were used for this dish and it only made enough food for tonight's dinner (but we have leftovers from other nights).  Here's the scoop on why these noodles have gotten a lot of press lately:

* made of naturally water soluble fiber with no fat, sugar, or starch
* contain zero net carbohydrates and zero calories, no gluten -made of a healthy natural fiber called Glucomannan (which is a soluble fiber that acts to slow digestion, which allows for the slower absorption of glucose)
* wheat & gluten free, and kosher
* easily absorbs the flavors of any soup, dish, or sauce
* are instant and come in a variety of styles
* have shown beneficial effects backed by medical studies for Type II Diabetes, Constipation, Obesity, and Cholesterol!

Unfortunately, Mike read the nutrition facts and found there were no nutrients in our noodles.  Apparently they only add fiber to your diet.  It did absorb the flavor, but these were realllllllly chewy.  I didn't think they were atrocious, but Mike was very displeased.  I didn't think he was going to finish his bowl!  The sauce was yummy and we're glad we finally found sriracha sauce at the grocery store.  But, this dish made very little food and I had to have two toaster pastries to feel full after dinner.  I'll probably use these noodles while Mike is out of town on interviews, but won't be buying more.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kale Lasagna Diavolo

1 tsp olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
8oz bunch kale, stems removed
15oz pkg ricotta cheese
4oz chevre or soft goat cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups prepared tomato puree
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat 8x8 inch baking dish with oil.
2) Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes.  Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Thoroughly wring out kale, then chop.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and set aside.
3) Mash together ricotta and chevre in bowl, and set aside.
4) Heat 1 tsp oil in small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add garlic, and cook 15 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add tomato puree and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes, or until thickened.
5) Spread 1/4 cup sauce in prepared baking pan.  Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of sauce.  Top with half of cheese mixture, half of kale and 1/3 cup sauce.  Top with two more noodles, remaining cheese and remaining kale.  Top with remaining noodles, and cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake 40 minutes, or until cheese has melted and lasagna is bubbly.

Review:  I typically hate cooking with kale, because it's curly leaves hold in so much dirt, and sometimes critters (one slug and one comatose honeybee so far).  And, my last Vegetarian Times issue contained MANY kale recipes, as kale is in season.  However, it also mentioned different varieties of kale.  I lamented that I'd never see them in my area, until I went to the co-op yesterday.  They just happened to have a bunch of Lacinato kale.  It was organic and locally grown, to boot!  It's apparently an heirloom variety, but it's leaves aren't as curly (nor as wide).

So I made this in a 9x13 pan (so I used 9 noodles)and added a can of diced tomatoes.  I pulled it out of the oven after 32 minutes and the cheese was burnt on top.  :(  So, 40 minutes is too long, unless you dial down the temp.  It would probably be fine at 350F.   It was still pretty yummy and the kale with goat cheese flavor is awesome.

This Week's Planned Menu

Kale Lasagna Diavolo

Hoisin Braised Tempeh With Green Beans & Cashews

Butternut Squash & Linguine

Spicy Shirataki Noodles

pizza from Papa Murphy's

Vegetable Strudel Filled With Spinach & Sweet Peppers, the one that was frozen in the freezer

Olive Lover's Pasta

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hoisin Braised Tempeh & Chinese Vegetables

2 tsp canola oil
16oz tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 large carrots, thinly sliced diagonally
1 head bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced diagonally
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally

1) Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients except snow peas. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes.  Add snow peas, cover, and cook until vegetables are cooked but still firm, about 5 minutes longer.

Review: I cheated for this recipe.  I bought a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, that contained the snow peas, carrots and water chestnuts.  It had a few others, too.  I then only had to chop up the bok choy and scallions.  It was a lot easier.  I tossed the whole bag in and cooked for a few minutes.  The snow peas were a little mushier than the rest, but I never eat those anyway. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vegetable Strudel Filled With Spinach & Sweet Peppers

5 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 red sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
1 yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch strips
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
dash ground red pepper
butter-flavor nonstick spray coating
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 Tbs fine dry bread crumbs

1) For filling, place the spinach in large colander; set aside. In a large saucepan cook sweet peppers, summer squash, carrots, mushrooms, and green onions in 4 cups boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over spinach to drain; rinse immediately with cold water. Drain well, pressing out excess moisture. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Stir in the dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the oregano, salt, black pepper, and ground red pepper. Set filling aside.
2) Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick coating. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry kitchen towel. (Keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.) Spray with nonstick coating. Place another sheet on top; spray with nonstick coating. Sprinkle with half of the bread crumbs. Place 2 more sheets of phyllo on top, spraying each with nonstick coating. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Add remaining 2 sheets of phyllo, spraying each with nonstick coating.
3) Spoon filling along 1 long side of phyllo stack about 1-1/2 inches from edges. Fold in the short sides over the filling. Starting from the long side with filling, roll up jelly-roll style.
4) Place strudel, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Spray top with nonstick coating. Using a sharp knife, score into 8 slices, cutting through the top layer only. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
5) Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the strudel is golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. To serve, cut along scored lines into slices. Makes 4 servings.

Review:  This was an incredibly labor intensive meal!  I followed the directions fairly thoroughly, at first.  Yet, somehow I ended up with 3 times the amount of filling that I should have had, and by the end, I was just trying to get this into the oven!!!  Because I had so much filling (and plenty of phyllo - the package had 18 sheets), I made 3 strudels!!!  I put two into the oven and froze one.  Of course, I was so exhausted by the time this went into the oven, that I forgot to cut the slits and sprinkle with Parmesan.  And, my phyllo had dried out by this point and was breaking off.  I also ran out of cooking spray halfway through and began using melted butter and a pastry brush!  Regardless, it was amazingly delicious!!!  This had such a wonderful flavor and was so yummy that I'm glad there was more than one strudel (we ate a whole one for dinner and cut into the second one before packing leftovers!!).  I doubt I'll make this again, since it literally took me HOURS to make, but I'm grateful for the extra one in the freezer.  Yum!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mushroom & Wild Rice Hotdish

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice and brown rice blend
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped 
1 large stalk celery, diced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup creamy portobello mushroom soup
2 Tbs lemon juice
6oz Quorn Chik’n Tenders 
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbs panko breadcrumbs

1) Bring 1 cup water to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in rice, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until rice is tender.
2) Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add mushrooms and lemon zest. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3) Stir in mushroom soup and lemon juice. Remove from heat, and stir in Chik’n Tenders, rice, and sour cream. Spoon into 8-inch-square baking dish, and top with breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place casserole on baking sheet. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly in center.
4) Frozen cooking instructions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover casserole with foil, and place on baking sheet. Bake 1 hour, or until filling bubbles and top is golden. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Review:  Vegetarian Times tells me that "hotdish" is what Minnesotans call casseroles.  Who knew?

This was a labor of love, for sure.  I used a fancy rice mix that had to cook for 50 minutes.  Then, I had to cut up frozen chik'n patties!  I don't like Quorn and we didn't want to go to Wal-Mart today (the only store in town that sells the MorningStar Farms Chik'n Strips).  So, we made due with patties that were in the freezer.  However, they have a grilled taste that altered my casserole.  And, I was able to use leftover (from a recipe a few days ago) creamy portobello mushroom soup.  But, because I had so much leftover, I doubled the soup, rice and sour cream.  It was a bit soupy, so my hotdish wasn't very casserole like.  It was still edible, but I wasn't a huge fan due to the grilled flavor added by the patties.  Oh, well.  It didn't suck and it fed us.  Mike liked it more than I did, but I doubt I'll make it again.

This Week's Planned Menu

Mushroom & Wild Rice Hotdish

Vegetable Strudel Filled With Spinach & Sweet Peppers

spaghetti & jarred sauce

Hoisin Braised Tempeh & Chinese Vegetables

Israeli Couscous With Root Vegetables

cereal & a sandwich 

Golden Spirals With Chickpeas & Yellow Bell Pepper

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie

4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 1/4 cups prepared creamy portobello mushroom soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dry sherry
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (or 1/8 tsp each ground thyme and ground sage)
1 lb seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or shredded vegan cheese of choice, optional
2/3 sheet (1/3 of 17.3oz pkg) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1) Preheat oven to 425F, and place oven rack in bottom third of oven. Coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish or oval casserole or gratin dish with cooking spray.
2) Place broccoli florets in microwave-safe casserole with lid, and add 3 Tbs. water. Cover, and microwave on high power 2 minutes. Stir, cover, and microwave 2 minutes more, or until broccoli is tender. Drain, and set aside.
3) Meanwhile, whisk together soup, mayonnaise, sherry, and poultry seasoning in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add seitan and broccoli florets; stir to combine. Transfer broccoli-seitan mixture to prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using.
4) Cut pastry into 6 equal squares. Place squares evenly over seitan mixture. (Filling does not need to be completely covered by squares.)
5) Bake 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden and filling is hot and bubbly.

Review: I tweaked this recipe somewhat!  I used frozen chopped broccoli and just tossed it into the bowl (without all of the microwaving).  I also doubled the soup and mayo, as I didn't have enough of a soup base.  I didn't double the sherry.  I used my big lasagna pan for this and one sheet of puff pastry wasn't enough, but it was all I had defrosted!  I tossed the second sheet into the microwave to defrost (using the defrost function), but it came out gummy.  You can see the section I had to add, as it looks mangled on top!!  I also used MorningStar Farms Chik'n Strips, as our grocery store doesn't sell seitan.  For the meat lovers in my life, I'm sure you could use real chicken.  After all the changes, it baked for 25 minutes and was wonderful.  It almost had a ranch taste to it, which could have been due to the seasoning on the Chik'n Strips.  It was reallllllllly delicious and I'll definitely make it again!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Orzo Lentil Pilaf With Feta

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils, or 1 15oz can lentils, rinsed and drained
6oz dry orzo pasta
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1) Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until softened. 
2) Stir in lentils, orzo, and 1 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until orzo is tender, and all water is absorbed. 
3) Divide among serving bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 2 Tbs feta.

Review:  I decided to substitute whole-wheat Israeli couscous.  I love Israeli couscous and thought whole wheat might be a healthier option.  However, coming out of the box, it greatly resembled kitty kibble.  I thought the taste wasn't much better, but Mike loved the taste.  This didn't have the great toasted flavor that regular Israeli couscous has and the texture was awful.  Stick with the regular stuff, or use orzo!  So, I ended up not liking this dish, but know that it would be awesome had I made it differently.  Mike actually thought adding olives might have made it tastier (and I thought he didn't like olives!).  I'll have to try this one again. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Week's Planned Menu

Baked Lentils With Cheese

Radiatore With Pumpkin Sauce

Orzo Lentil Pilaf With Feta (except I think I'll substitute Israeli couscous for the orzo)


Southwestern Salsa Pasta


Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie

Friday, January 7, 2011


My stocking provided me with a pot clip.  I've been wanting one of these for awhile, and now I have one!!!!!!  This is actually pretty awesome and I think every cook should have one.  :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pasta With Butternut Squash & Pecans

1 lb tubular pasta, such as strozzapreti or penne
1 butternut squash (2 lbs) , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese 

1)  Fill a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket with 1/2-inch water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place squash in steamer basket and cook, covered, until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
2)  In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook butter, stirring, until melted and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add squash and stir gently to combine; season with salt and pepper. 
3)  Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Add olive oil and parsley and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. 
4)  Divide pasta evenly between 4 plates and spoon squash mixture on top of pasta. Sprinkle over parmesan and top each with a dollop of ricotta. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately. 

Review:   Oh, yum.  This was fairly quick to make (I tossed the pasta into the water I used for steaming purposes).  I really love the taste of ricotta & parmesan with the butternut squash.  It was similar to another recipe I made that used sweet potatoes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This Week's Planned Menu

Angel Hair With Goat Cheese, Broccoli & Toasted Pine Nuts

Sherry-Sauteed Broccoli With Walnuts & Fresh Oregano

Pasta With Butternut Squash & Pecans

pizza from Papa Murphy's

Rigatoni Peperonata

Red Beans & Rice Casserole