Tag Archives: vegetarian

Dinner for pesTwo

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c [spinach or chopped fresh broccoli, stems ‘n all]
  • 1/2 c walnut halves/pieces
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

spinachpestoIt’s probably a lot easier than you might’ve imagined (if you haven’t been doing it all the time anyway) to make an excellent pesto.

Those ingredients up there?

Throw them all in the food processor and turn it on.

Toss with your choice of pasta, chicken or fish.  Above is actually the spinach pesto tossed with linguine and some steamed broccoli florets. Last night we got home from an afternoon of errands and were too tired to make a big fuss. I was able to get the pesto ready by the time our box of mini-pierogies were done.  My wife drained them and handed me back the empty, still-fuming pot. I spooned inabout half the food processor’s aromatic goods and smeared it around to heat/loosen it up (feel free to add an extra dollop of oil if you find it too stiff).

broccoli-pesto

broccoli pesto on mini-pierogies

Then, with the pasta: drain the linguine while al dente, and put it back into pot; mix. With the pierogies, we just spooned the broccoli pesto atop their delicate, easily-offended skins.

This new addition to my current recipe lexicon gets 5 spoons with applause for being so easy, delicious and full of protein/good fats and phytonutrients. Tonight I’m using the other half of last night’s broccoli pesto — the other half of the food processor’s insides never seem to make it to the freezer.

Advertisements

Spicy Peanut Stew

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg sweet potato in 1-2″ chunks
  • 1 14 oz can black beans
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (Olive is totes fine too)
  • 1 c minced onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 celery stalk in 1/2″-1″ bits
  • 3/4 c frozen corn
  • 1/2 c minced kale
  • 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 14 oz can diced/crushed tomatoes w/ green chile
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • dash of asafoetida

peanut-stewIt’s a strange winter that’s seen a lot of beautiful spring days and a few notably polar ones. If it’s going to be cold any particular evening, a soup or stew is what to have on the stove. Not to get all June Cleaver on y’alls tails, but I love knowing something will be ready the minute my darling returns from a long day of work. Stews’ll let you have that. Tonight I’m trying a West African-inspired peanut stew that made friends with the inside of my cupboard.

120507061131-tv-mom-june-cleaver-barbara-billingsley-horizontal-gallery

RIP, Barbara Billingsly

When your oil in a large pot reaches the high side of medium-low, add your seasonings to the oil and mix it into a paste. Then mix in the kale onion, garlic and celery. Let that cook for 5-10 minutes, and upon your return add the tomatoes peanut butter, stirring it in until smooth. Add the can of beans (liquid ‘n all) and as much broth as your taste permits. Put diced sweet potato in pot and let it come to a leisurely boil on M before covering it, turning the burner to L and walking away until your sweet potatoes are tender (At least 45 minutes).

This is a gluten-free and vegan recipe, but… wait, come back! You didn’t let me finish.

This is a gluten-free and vegan recipe, but use chicken instead of vegetable broth or, heck, add actual chicken and you’ve got an inarguably good dinner at 5 spoons.

TNP, vol. IV(egan) – Pumpkin Stew

  • 1 c mashed pumpkin, chunky
  • 1 can lentil soup
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 L kale leaves or 1/2 c blanched/squeezed
  • 1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 M onion, diced
  • 1 S-M jalapeno, diced (with seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

pumpkin-lentil-stewI know what you’re thinking — “you have an 11lb pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin and all you can do is puss out with soups?” And for that I’ve got three responses:

  1. A stew is an entirely different animal than a soup. Well, not entirely. It’s just much more about the solids than the liquid.
  2. I also made pumpkin oatmeal, which is a good step above soup.
  3. Be gentle; this is my first pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 425. Start your garlic and onions on ML in the coconut and 3 tbsp olive oil. While they become friends go ahead and blanch your kale and ready those cherry tomatoes (I wasn’t planning on using them but by Thor’s Hammer I was not about to let them get a day wrinklier on the counter). Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil and place in a baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for 20m, or until their skins begin to split.

While those roast, go back to the pan and turn heat to M. When hot, add spices and jalapeno and stir for no longer than 1 minute. Add pumpkin; mix. Add lentil soup and kale, mix gently until hot. When done add the tomatoes to the pot and serve. I did a pretty good job covering up that inside-of-an-aluminum-can taste that no soup on a grocery store shelf can hide… even with a little processed food in its foundation, this stew gets 5 spoons! The chunky pumpkin is an excellent stand-in for the potatoes usually found in this recipe and the cherry tomatoes provide an unexpectedly flavorful bite. Make sure, however, to look for a low-sodium can of soup to offset that sea salt.

There is still 1/2 c puree in the fridge, and a quart of cubes in the freezer… something else will have to be made. I will continue to sally forth, roughly handling gourds wherever I go.

Parsley-Kale Pesto (or, “I can’t believe it’s kale!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c (cooked) whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 c parsley
  • 1 c marinated kale
  • 4 L cloves garlic
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste, y’know?)

Kale-Parsley PestoWell we had spaghetti sauce and salad stuff, but neither one of us necessarily felt like being transported tonight via flavor to the isle of Sicily. Maybe something a wee bit lighter (-seeming, at the very least) like olive oil and garlic? Then a bulb came on above both our heads at the same moment — pesto!

Since kinda-recently learning of coconut oil’s health benefits I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my cooking — the trick there is not to make coconut pasta, so tread lightly. It, the whole wheat pasta and walnuts are the main proteins here (unless you wanna count the Parmesan too, but ’tis a mere pittance), nevertheless feel free to add chicken or shrimp if you don’t believe in things like that.

Parsley-Kale PestoAlso, ha! Made ya like kale, right?

Put all that stuff in the food processor and let it whirl until — magically — pesto appears! Adjust the oil if you want it more/less soupy. With the minimal amount of coconut in a dish that roars of garlic, there was a faint hint of Thai in this dish… just enough to make it delicious and foreign, but not enough to make it taste counterintuitively unfamiliar.

I had enough left over from our [2 person] meal that I used 2 tbsp of it to make a pesto vinaigrette (this stuff, red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil) and still had 1/3 c of it to put in the freezer. 5 spoons.

Cheesy Casserole Love

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1 c mezze penne (dry)
  • 3/4 c white beans (cooked)
  • 1 whole head roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 10.5 oz can cream of [celery] soup
  • 1 tbsp reserved bacon grease [butter for vegetarian option]
  • 1/3 c plain soy milk
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt/pepper
  • dash asafoetida
  • 1/4 c Panko bread crumbs

casseroleWhen my better half walked out the door for work this morning, I promised to have some manner of cheesy casserole in the oven to greet her upon return. On the heels of that promise, I released broccoli from its crisper drawer prison. Then, well… I just kinda winged it.

Nope, not quite clear enough...

Nope, not clear enough…

Mince onions and let cook in bacon grease on ML until onions become translucent. Salt and pepper them for the heck of it (oh, and add in the asafoetida now). While that’s going on, boil pasta until al dente (so that it won’t get too mushy cooking in the ‘role). When done, drain and rinse under cold water; set aside.

In hindsight, I probably should have used a bigger pan. Please learn from my mistake.

In hindsight, I probably should have used a bigger pan. Please learn from my mistake.

When the onions have reached desired glassiness, dump your florets in that pan and mix until everything’s hog-tied in pig drippings [again, butter can be used here for a vegetarian option… I just happened to have some bacon, and, well, you know what happened]. Crank the heat up to M and let them cook, tossing occasionally, until the pan in its entirety blushes a bright green.

And while that’s going on, mix together those mashed up cloves of garlic, “cream of” soup, soy milk and cheeses. Grease the bottom of a casserole dish, then mix all once-individual tasks together — pasta, broccoli/onions, beans, cheese sauce. Bake covered in a 350° oven for about 25-30m, then remove from oven and dust with panko. Let it sit for five minutes, then dig on in to your night’s official flavor destination. 5 spoons!

Creamy Kale-fredo

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c mezze penne pasta
  • 1 c minced, marinated* kale
  • 1/2 c cashew butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (for equitable option, use veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • dash turmeric

kalefredoAll the creaminess of an Alfredo with none of the cream! This is not to say I was gunning for an Alfredo sauce when I started, but the richness and flavor reaped by cashew butter is a worthy replacement for actual cream. Start this whole shebang by mincing your garlic and letting it simmer in a pot on M for a few minutes (I washed dishes).

Upon your return to the stove, smack the cashew butter up in that pot. Add broth slowly; stir to meld the two. Heck, go on and stir in all the seasonings while you’re at it. Once everything has made friends with one another, introduce the lemon juice and kale; cover and simmer on L for a few minutes while you cook the pasta. Drain it and add to the sauce pot. Toss everything together and let it sit on L for at least 5m (let the pasta saturate itself in flavortown) before digging in. 5 spoons!

kale*The equation I use for making marinated kale is: KALE (- STEMS + A FEW DROPS OIL) + FOOD PROCESSOR x 15 MINUTE WAIT = “MARINATED” KALE

Proof is in the Photo …pudding?

Fruit-marinated and apple/cabbage-topped pork loin

Fruit-marinated and apple/cabbage-topped pork loin

I have been only slightly below average at remembering to take photos of things I am proud to have cooked and dreadful at remembering to write down actual lists of ingredients or recipe instructions. Please take kindly this generalized optical offering of my recent wares.

Lemon-pepper papardelle with garlic-wilted spinach

Lemon-pepper papardelle with garlic-wilted spinach

Makin' a pizza with whole-wheat crust

Makin’ a pizza with whole-wheat crust

Farfalle with... chicken and carrots?

Farfalle with… chicken and carrots? I don’t remember.

Please feel free to follow me on Facebook for updates slightly more often.

Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

Spicy Kale-sadilla

In my pantry today:

  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 oz refried beans
  • 1/3 c kale, minced
  • 3 oz monterey jack, shredded
  • 2 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2.5 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • dash asafoetida
  • salsa/sour cream to taste

P1100876So I’ve been hanging out for the last week with my good friend Rhinovirus, who brought along his girlfriend Anosmia. By the time I could yank my snotty face up out of bed, there was nothing left to smell. I probably don’t need to reiterate what a bad idea cooking without smelling is; probably more for whomever is cooked for, but fortunately I was pliable enough in illness to allow more prepackaged food into my kitchen than I might want to for the next six months.

Tonight I’m stepping gingerly back onto the stovefront with something so simple not even an anosmic monkey could fail.

P1100860Start by slicing your garlic very thinly and letting it simmer in 2 tsp on ML for 15m or so while you mince that kale. After mincing, sprinkle with  and cayenne then rub 1/2 tsp olive oil into your palms and grab the whole bunch. Massage then transfer to a ziplock bag for more massaging. Set aside for at least 15m, but for an hour or more if’n you got it.

P1100860tShred and mix cheeses. Mix refried beans into olive oil/garlic mix and let everything congeal together on L for at least 20m, but for an hour or more if’m you got it. When kale-sadilla time happens at last, lightly oil a pan heated to the M side of ML. While the heating is going on, spread some beans on a tortilla and sprinkle on a bit of kale for good measure since it will stick with a purpose to the beans and not get all over the counter or stove. Put the open tortilla in the pan, sprinkle in cheese and fold it closed. Flip it every 15-30 seconds until cheese begins to show, melted, around its edges. Serve with sour cream and salsa if’n you desire. This turns out to be a great way to sneak kale into a meal without knowing you’re chomping the superfood!  4 spoons, says my wife, who has all of her nasal faculties intact.

Cabbage, Corn and [K]ale Cream Cheese Casserole (or, “An Alliterative Affair”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 c corn kernels
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz cream cheese, in chunks
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c fried onions
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • dash asafoetida

P1100650Ok, so you’re going to need to do a couple of things first: blanch the kale for 5-9m (taste test it for chewability-without-suspicion) then add cabbage to the boiling water. Taste test for texture; I went about 3m. Drain everything well then line the bottom of a 8×6″ glass baking dish with the strainer contents and corn.

P1100610Now that everything is done boiling, you can use the same pot to start garlic and onions in the oil/ghee. After cooking on ML for 5-10m, add the chunks of cream cheese and smoosh them all around until melted. Sprinkle on seasonings and mix in with the can of cream of mushroom soup. Pour mixture over vegetables, spreading until even. Once you’ve adorned it further with panko and french fried onions let it bake at 350° for 40m. This would have been great served over rice or alongside other dishes at a dinner table, but we ate it almost directly out of the pan. 4 spoons for not entirely knowing its consistency (5 in my heart).