Here's a favorite, speedy side dish. We ate it alongside bean burritos (cheese, onions, peppers, beans) that can easily be put together while waiting for the microwave to beep.
Please either ignore or be amused by my hungry child's voice in the background. She's saying "Oooo" as I stir in the vegetables and squeezes in a few hiccups. But you know what? She's right where I want her to be. I want her to learn to love cooking healthy foods, too.
Those who know me well know I am a girly-girl. And as a child, I despised dirt. I momentarily appreciated the chore of using the riding lawn mower to cut our 1/4 acre. But I was uncomfortable with weeding, dirt, and bugs. I have tried hard to change. While I still have an odd fear or hatred of lizards (which I'm trying to get over), I have learned to appreciate the dirt involved with gardening and weeding. After all, they get me out in the fresh air and provide a bit of exercise--two very important things for sustained quality of life.
OK, first off, I don't have a grill. But you can get near it by cooking the veggies in a skillet over medium-hot flame. Secondly, I repeated this recipe a few days later as marinated vegetables. We didn't like it as well. Thirdly, I encourage you to really review my cost analysis. I knew it was a good week at the stores, but $3.00 to feed 5 people dinner is incredible! It proves you don't have to break the bank to eat healthy. It also highlights how much you can save by bringing your own lunch to work.
Recipe for Mediterranean Vegetable Pitas
5 Pita pockets, cut in half
3/4 cup Eggplant, diced
1/4 cup Onion, sliced thinly
5 Sweet peppers, sliced thinly
2 small Zuchini, sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Herb of choice (sage, rosemary, or Italian blend, for example)
1 Small tomato, cut into wedges
5 (heaping) Tablespoons Hummus
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring until slightly softened. Add eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. When vegetables are starting to brown, season with herbs. Toast pita pockets if desired. Spread with hummus. Fill with vegetables. Garnish with tomatoes. (Although there's nothing that says you can't cook the tomatoes, too. As they cook down, they'll make a yummy sauce for the veggies.) Another idea, my father asked for his sandwich to be served with balsamic vinegar.
This is the successful quinoa salad recipe I served to 25 people along with a baked potato bar last night.
Recipe for Quinoa Salad
2 cups Quinoa, uncooked
1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved
4 banana peppers, thinly sliced
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
3/4 can black olives, sliced
1 cup Italian dressing (homemade or store-bought)
Cook quinoa according to package directions and chill. (Can be made a day or two in advance.) Combine quinoa and vegetables in large bowl folding gently with a large spatula. Pour salad dressing over quinoa. Stir gently. Serve immediately. To marinate, chill 1-2 hours after adding dressing.
Recipe for Italian Dressing
3/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion pwder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Whisk ingredients together continuously while pouring over salad.
Although I had planned to serve roasted cauliflower over the ravioli, the oven was in use on another baking project. And the tomatoes looked like they wanted to be eaten. And when all was said and done, my husband was just thrilled with the sauce and so was I. The creamy cheese filling of the ravioli offset the chunkier sauce and eliminated the need for a cheese topping. I was quite pleased how a little bit of ravioli goes a long way.
Cauliflower Tomato Sauce
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 large tomato, diced
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, salt
Sautee onion in 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat until half cooked, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and stir. Cook another 5 minutes. Add tomato and cook until done. Halfway through the cooking process, I like to add the extra oil and seasonings. Some people like the tomato cooked longer and therefore add it earlier. The choice is yours.
I'm so embarrassed. I can't for the life of me figure out how I missed posting this amazing recipe when I loved it so much and had it two or three times in a two-week period. Mollie Katzen's Eat, Drink and Weigh Less is all about making your meals as healthy as possible, which means skipping the fried Eggplant Parmesan. Although it messed up my jelly roll pan a bit (But do you really want your kitchenware to look unused?), this recipe went far in keeping the flavor and minimizing the fat.
Recipe for Simple Tomato Sauce
Blend one can diced tomatoes (mostly drained), two cloves garlic, and dehydrated basil in mini food processor until garlic is chopped. Add salt and/or fresh black pepper to taste. Heat in heavy sauce pan over medium low heat if necessary.
My husband gave me a massage a few weeks back as a birthday present. While I was enjoying the pampering and assistance relaxing since I was still recovering from the very recent delivery, my folks came over and made me dinner.
1 large can whole tomatoes, drained (I prefer Muir Glen for best flavor
2 cloves garlic
1 large handful dried basil, crushed
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. I have a small food processor and made two rounds. Chop to desired consistency. Some people prefer chunkier tomatoes. Dump sauce into a sauce pan and heat on low-medium. Stir to keep it from boiling over.
Note: Because the tomatoes were already salted, I left salt out of the recipe. You may want to add some salt if you have no-salt tomatoes. Or, you may want to try the sauce without any salt. You just might be surprised that you don't miss it.
Another Note: If you're of the non-wasteful type, do what I did and freeze the tomato juice. You'd be surprised what recipes call for it, and you'll already have it on hand! For example, when cooking beans from scratch, replace some of the water with some tomato juice. It increases the flavor. Or add it to broth in a soup.
1 can Muir Glen Fire Raosted Tomatoes, chopped slightly in a food processor if your guests don't like chunky tomatoes
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cups cooked pinto beans
3/4 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1 T olive oil
6 medium baking potatoes
Cheese as desired
Cilantro for garnish
Saute onions in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. May undercook for a stronger flavor. Add garlic and pepper. Stir and cook until just before garlic browns. Add tomatoes, stir, and simmer (until my frozen beans had defrosted enough in the microwave to remove them from their bowl). Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder. Stir in beans, cover, and turn fire to low. Continue to stir occasionally and monitor for 20 minutes or longer (depending on when the potatoes are done).
Spoon chili over potatoes, allow cheese on top as desired. Garnish with cilantro. Salt and hot sauce should be available at the table.
Our best results for baking potatoes in the oven is wrapping them in aluminum foil to keep them from drying out and setting them on the rack in a 450' oven for about an hour. You can also microwave them (max of about 3 at a time), but Paul claims that's technically steaming, not baking.
Times are tough. Many people are in need. We're blessed to both still have our jobs. However, in an effort to keep us both from being exceptionally stressed over money while I'm out on matrnity leave, I've tried to be as cheap as possible--especially looking for diapers on sale.
We had a short layover in Atlanta on our way to Mississippi on Thanksgiving Day. We walked the terminal briefly, and elected to stop at Atlanta Bread for a snack. There was a very long line and lots of employees were working hard to make the experience speedy. They were very kind considering they were stuck at work on a holiday. We were amused by their uniforms. Each shirt had a word on the back that was a play on words; for example: Teashirt. It was very cute.
Well, we're back from a lovely Thanksgiving trip to Star, Mississippi, and I'm happy to say we've brought a bit chillier weather with us. So, I cracked open my Moosewood Restaurant Soups and Stews cooking "deck of cards" this morning and laid out some recipes to investigate this week. We also have some leftover sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and mashed white potatoes. So aside from a quick trip to Publix to take advantage of the sale that started on Friday, my time in the grocery store will be pretty limited.
This is another one of my mother's popular recipes. She makes her own ranch dressing. Because it doesn't have a strange aftertaste that sometimes comes with buttermilk ranch, isn't as salty, and can be made dairy-free, it's quite popular. In fact, I know people who don't like ranch dressing at all who each this dressing. It also works great as a dip. The dip in the photograph was slightly thicker because I didn't add milk due to known food allergies of the guest of honor.
Recipe for Ranch Dressing a la Claire
1 C mayonnaise
1 t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
¼ t celery seed powder
dash red pepper
1 t lemon juice
½ t sugar (optional)[I don't ever add this.]
1 t sweet basil, dried
2 t parsley, dried
1 t chives, dried or fresh
¼ t salt or to taste
¼ C milk or ½ C milk (optional or soy, if preferred)
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dry ingredients. Add ¼ cup milk for dip or ½ cup milk for salad dressing.
For 1,000 Island Dressing: Add ¼ cup dill pickles, finely chopped and 1 tablespoon ketchup.
While out with my mom one Friday, we stopped at a bookstore and ran into our pastor's wife. She asked us if we wanted to join her for lunch and recommended a health-food store like Whole Foods called Chamberlin's. I'd never been there before, but I once heard a patient rave about their yogurt. I was excited to give it a shot, but was saddened to learn that they no longer offered frozen yogurt.
A couple weeks ago, the office ordered lunch for us courtesy of a patient because our nurse practitioner, Shani, is moving away. That's a story in and of itself cause we've bonded so much, and I'll miss her terribly. Anyway, not realizing feta is considered a "soft" cheese and is off my diet, the girls were quite proud that they had ordered this delicious looking Pacific Veggie pizza for myself and Shani (who is a pescatarian). Also, not realizing that the pizza had feta on it, I dove in because it looked so fabulous.
Last week at work went better than I had planned, but there was enough going on that I really appreciated the light dinner ideas I has scheduled during last week's post. The only change I made was to have Mexican Pizza on Friday night instead of the Egg Fu Yung, which means I have at least one meal already planned for this coming week! It's kind of like a roll-over.
Sometimes, the photos of a meal go up on flickr before I get around to posting the story behind it. Our dear friend, Brent, had the kids by himself over the weekend while Lisa, his wife, was away with her family. Brent saw our picture of the Mexican Pizza, guessed how to make it, and made one for the kids. He said Kyle liked it, and he loved it. Apparently, Elena wasn't so sure about it. Therefore, I can actually post the opinions of this dish beyond our household. The first photo was from our dinner and the second is from Brent and the kids' dinner.
Recipe for Mexican Pizza
2 Burrito-sized Flour Tortillas
1/8 onion, sliced
1/4 small bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/3 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/3 can Refried Beans
1/2 cup (more or less) cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one flour tortilla in the center of a jelly roll pan (I like a pan with edges so juices don't run). Spread refried beans over the tortilla. Lay the onions, bell peppers, and black olives around over the beans and top with one layer of cheese (optional). Place second tortilla over the toppings (like a quesadilla), and top with the tomatoes and additional cheese. Bake in oven 7 minutes or until edges are brown and cheese is bubbling.