Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gyros!

With the success of the MorningStar Farms Steak Strips last week, I was asked to develop a recipe for gyros. I honestly don't think I've ever had a gyro, since I became vegetarian so early on (almost 10 years ago, oh my goodness!), so I had to do a lot of research. I found a tzatziki sauce recipe on the Food Network website and adapted it to be quicker, easier, lower in fat, and sans mint. I also studied how to season the meat, which was pretty difficult. In real gyros, the meat is mixed with onions and herbs, and then made into kind of a meatloaf. Obviously since I was working with pre-seasoned strips of not meat, I had to be a little bit creative.

Anyway, here is the recipe I came up with. I'm very pleased with it. It's definitely something we will make again. I served them with some Near East Mediterranean Curried couscous. Yum.

Lauren's Gyros
Sauce:
8 oz plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup cucumber - peeled, seeded, and shredded or finely chopped
Salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil

'Meat':
1 pkg Morningstar Farms Steak Strips mealstarters
1 or 2 pinches of dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

Other ingredients:
2 pitas, sliced in half to form 2 pockets apiece
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese

For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Toss all the ingredients for the meat (steak strips through olive oil) into a skillet and saute until crispy and cooked through.

Put the pita pockets in the microwave for 30 seconds to get them nice and warm. Divide the steak strips evenly inside each pita pocket. Add tomatoes, onion, feta, and sauce. Eat.

This makes 2-4 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Chile Con Queso

Tonight we had a cheese dip that I found in a Cabot Cheese advertisement. It was good and served its purpose, but I probably won't make it again. I changed a couple of things, so what I'm posting is not 100% the original recipe. I did find it to be a little salty, but I'm PMSy so maybe that's why. *shrug* It's good if you want a really quick snacky food, especially for the Super Bowl this weekend.

Chile Con Queso
4 Tbsp salted butter
1 1/4 cups chopped onion (1 large)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced rotel tomatoes [Note: Rotel tomatoes have green chilies mixed in]
12 oz shredded light cheddar cheese or light jalapeno cheddar (about 3 cups)
Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper (optional)


1. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and stir until tender. Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese and stir until just melted. Season with Tabasco or cayenne to taste. Serve warm with baked tortilla chips.



Also, I am very happy to announce that Edy's Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream - Tagalong flavor is very good. It kind of tastes like Reese's Pieces or peanut butter cup ice cream, but it's a little bit better because it has pieces of cookie mixed in.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Vegetarian Potstickers

In honor of Chinese New Year, I thought I'd make potstickers. I've had a recipe from Ming Tsai for a long time. It was a disaster! I admit though, it was entirely my fault. I accidentally picked up wonton wrappers instead of gyoza wrappers. Wonton wrappers are too thin for this recipe and don't steam very well. The potstickers tasted pretty good (especially the dipping sauce), so I bet they'd be much better if I had used the proper wrappers. Oh well.

Vegetarian PotStickers
1 red onion sliced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup white cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup chopped garlic chives or chives
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 package round dumpling skins, also called gyoza (preferably twin dragon brand)

Salt to taste
Canola oil

In a wok or large saute pan, add a little oil and saute onions and ginger. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add the cabbage, carrots and chives. Season. When mixture is soft, place in colander to drain. Add the sesame oil and cilantro when mixture is cooled. Check for seasoning. Using the gyoza skins, make half moon dumplings keeping the bottom flat. In a hot non-stick pan, coat with oil and place dumplings. When bottom gets brown, add 1/4 cup of water and immediately cover. This will steam the dumplings. Carefully watch the dumplings and completely evaporate the water so that the bottom gets crispy again and sticks to the pot.

Serve with dipping sauce.

SPICY SOY DIPPING SAUCE:

1/3 cup thin soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sambal

Combine all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Stromboli

I make this for us all the time. It's really easy and really good. I've altered the recipe so that instead of making homemade pizza dough, I use pre-made refrigerated dough. I usually use the Pillsbury kind, but our store doesn't carry it anymore so I've been using those bags of dough sold near the deli/bakery section. The recipe is from Cooking Light, surprise ;-)

Pepperoni, Provolone, and Pesto Stromboli
1 tube (or bag) of pizza dough
Cooking spray
1/3 cup storebought pesto
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 7oz bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 4oz package veggie pepperoni

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Press dough into a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Spread pesto over dough, leaving a 1 inch border; top with cheese, olives, pepperoni, and peppers, pressing gently into the dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Press seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on pan. Cut 4 slits across top of dough using a sharp knife. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Cut crosswise into 8 slices.

Photo added March 12, 2009:
stromboli

Friday, January 27, 2006

Chicken & Dumplings

This is a super-easy recipe I found in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine. The original recipe called for one 3 1/2 to 4 lb cooked rotisserie chicken (which you can find at the deli section of the grocery store, or you can buy one at Boston Market). I, obviously, replaced it with fake meat. As I said yesterday, I decided to use the MorningStar Farms Chicken Strips Meal Starters. I cooked those up and then cut them into small pieces, then continued with the recipe.

Chicken & Dumplings
1 pkg soy-chicken strips
1 10 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
1 10.75 oz can condensed cream-of-mushroom soup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 10-count tube refrigerated biscuits

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the chicken, vegetables, soup, salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, cover the filling with the biscuits, and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings



My changes:
-First, I had to call it "chicken casserole" because Xx kept associating "dumplings" with "poop."
-Instead of the basic veggie mixture (peas-corn-carrots-greenbeans), I used a bag of frozen veggies that had corn, baby corn, broccoli, and carrots.

My thoughts:
I loooooved it. It was very quick, very very easy, but tasted like it involved a lot more work. I've never had 'real' chicken & dumplings, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I really liked it a lot. Xx liked the chicken but didn't like the veggie mixture, so next time I'm going to use one that I saw that contained potatoes. I think that will help :)

My only problem was that the biscuits didn't cook all the way through, so I ended up just serving the cooked tops and trashing the gooey uncooked dough. Next time, I'm going to pre-bake the biscuits and then put them on the casserole for the last few minutes of baking. I think it'll cook more evenly that way.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fajitas

Tonight we tried the new MorningStar Farms Meal Starters 'Steak' Strips, in a fajita recipe, found on the MorningStar Farms site. It was pretty good!! They had a decent texture and were nice and peppery. I'm a little more picky with my fake-meat products, so I would probably never eat them on their own, but they do taste good in this recipe. Tomorrow night we're trying the chicken-strips in a chicken pot pie recipe.

Here is the fajita recipe, c/o MorningStar Farms.

Sizzling Steak Fajitas
2 cups (8 oz) Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Steak Strips
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups fajita vegetable mix (red peppers, onions, etc)
1 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
4 flour tortillas, warmed
Salsa, fat-free sour cream and/or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. In large nonstick frypan coated with cooking spray, cook and stir steak strips over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Remove from frypan.
2. Add oil to frypan. Add vegetables. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in steak strips. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
3. Spoon onto tortillas. Wrap up. Serve immediately with salsa, sour cream and/or cheese.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

West Indies Mahi-Mahi

This is from a really old issue of Cooking Light. I've had this recipe for freaking forever. I think it's from 2001 or 2002. But I finally made it, and it was delicious!!! It was pretty cheap too, since I had all the spices on-hand. It was about $6 total. I liked it a lot, which is surprising because I rarely find fish recipes that make me happy. This is a definite make-again. Oh, side note: Mahi-mahi is apparently not in season right now, so we bought it frozen at Trader Joe's. It was like $3 for two filets. Sweet. The night before, put them in ziploc bags and pop them in the refrigerator til you're ready to marinate and cook.

West Indies Mahi-Mahi
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro [Note: I didn't use this because Cyrus hates cilantro]
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 finely chopped seeded jalapeño peppers
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 green onions, chopped
4 (6-ounce) mahimahi fillets
Cooking spray

Combine first 11 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Place fish in a shallow dish; pour marinade over fish. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Remove fish from dish, reserving marinade. Place fish on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Serves 4. [I cut the recipe in half for the two of us]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Macadamia Nut-Pesto Fettucine

Today I made my first recipe using my tiny, cheap 1-cup food processor that I got as a reward for taking online surveys. Turns out it works pretty well! Hooray! I'm so glad.

The recipe I made was Macadamia Nut-Pesto Fettucine, from Cooking Light. I liked it. You have to really like the taste of fresh basil to fully enjoy it. The toasted macadamia nuts added a really nice flavor. It's also really, really, really simple and easy.

Macadamia Nut-Pesto Fettucine

1 (9-ounce) package fresh fettuccine (Note: I used bow-tie pasta)
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons roasted macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

While pasta cooks, place basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine basil mixture and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat.


Yield: 3 servings


Also of note, last night I tried to make these Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns. Unfortunately, I did not realize that if I substituted canned pumpkin for fresh, I would need to add an extra cup of flour. The result was a big, oozy, gooey mess that did not at all resemble dough. I destroyed my pastry mat in the process :( I will probably try these again sometime, but I will need time to recuperate first.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Southwestern Eggrolls

These are based off of the Chili's Southwestern Eggroll appetizer. I found some copycat recipes online and made some alterations to make it a)vegetarian, and b)less fatty. The original recipe called for chicken, so if you want to add in some chicken, go ahead. It also called for the eggrolls to be deep fried. I changed the recipe to make the eggrolls baked. We like these a lot and eat them fairly often. They are quick to prepare. You could serve them with some sort of guacamole sauce like Chili's does, or just eat them on their own.

Southwestern Eggrolls

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 tortillas

Heat oil over medium high. Add peppers, green onions, and onion to the pan and sautee for a couple of minutes, until tender.

Add corn, beans, spinach, jalapenos, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir well so the spinach separates and is incorporated into the mixture.

Remove pan from heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Wrap tortillas in paper towels and microwave 1 1/2 minutes, until hot.

Spoon 1/5 of mixture into center of a tortilla. Fold in the ends, and then roll tortilla over the mixture (like wrapping a burrito). Roll tortilla very tight, then pierce with a toothpick to hold together.

Lightly coat with cooking spray and place, seam side down, on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice diagonally and serve.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Baked Potato Soup

Another potato soup, another recipe from Cooking Light. This takes awhile because you have to bake the potatoes for a full hour before you can concoct the soup, but it's worth it because it is tasty and delicious.

Baked Potato Soup

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (we use Bacos, which are soy)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash. Discard skins.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Sprinkle each serving with cheese, onions, and bacon.


Yield: 8 servings


Also, Edy's Slow-Churned Light Ice Cream is being offered in their seasonal Girl Scout Cookie flavors right now. Not fattening and freaking delicious. I got the Samoa flavor today and it makes me very happy. They also have Thin Mint and Tagalong. Yum!!


Photo added on December 13, 2007 after making the soup like a jillion times:
soup

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not-So-Sloppy Joes

This is from Real Simple magazine. I used to make sloppy joes just by mixing soy crumbles with the Manwich sauce, but then I found this recipe. It is much tastier. We eat this pretty often.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef (or 1 12 oz pkg soy crumbles)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup grated Cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 12 minutes. Spoon onto the buns, sprinkle with the Cheddar, and top each sandwich with a dollop of the sour cream.

Picture added on February 25, 2008:
joe

Melty Portobello Sandwiches

This recipe is from an issue of Penzey's One magazine. I have made it a couple times before. It is very, very fast. We ate it last night with tater tots.

Melty Portobello Sandwiches
6 ounces sliced portobello mushrooms
1 teaspoon your favorite seasoned salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 slices provolone cheese
4 thick slices of bread (Texas Toast), toasted

Gently rinse and clean the mushrooms; pat dry. Place in a bowl and
carefully toss with seasoned salt and 1 tablespoon oil. In a large fry
pan, saute onions in 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat until brown,
about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Carefully place mushrooms in the
pan flat side down (start the toast now). Fry for 2 minutes then gently
turn each piece. Fry for another 30 seconds then arrange the mushrooms
into 2 lots, roughly the shape of the toast. Top with a slice of
provolone then cover the pan for about 30 seconds until the cheese is
melted. Slide a spatula under the mushrooms, trying to keep the shape,
and place on the toast. Top with onions and serve.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tasty Pizza

Today I was, in general, pretty pissy since class & internship starts tomorrow and I am not looking forward to being sleep deprived. So tonight's dinner was nice and simple. I made pizza and it required very little effort.

Lauren's Yummy Pizza
Loosely based on this recipe from Cooking Light.

*Prebaked pizza crust (I used this brand; specifically, the herb and cheese flavor)
*Storebought basil pesto
*Shredded Italian cheese blend (like this one)
*Vegetarian pepperoni
*1 diced roma tomato
*Crushed red pepper

Put the pizza in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes to crisp it up. Spread it with pesto, then add the toppings. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper (as much as you can take). Bake another 5 minutes or so. Eat.

I really liked the pizza crust. I will definitely use it again in pizza recipes. It's more flavorful than Boboli.

I am also really excited about the Pringles 100-Calorie packs that I got at the store today. Yum yum.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Vegetable Bibimbap (Korean Food)

When we lived in Japan, we used to go to this awesome Korean restaurant on special occasions. It was so freaking good and had this thing called Bibimbap. I've gotten it a few times at other Korean restaurants, too. Someone posted their recipe for a vegetarian version on GBSFood awhile ago and I wrote it down to try it. This week I was craving it so I went ahead and made a big bowl for myself.

Here is the recipe. It is very, very versatile. You can pretty much saute any leftover vegetable and stir it with some sesame oil to get the same effect. I used the ones listed, but you could easily include things like bell peppers, tofu, onions, etc. You could also make some korean beef and add that, too.

Photo Added 1/19/08:
bibimbap

Vegetable Bibimbap
Cooked rice. (I used the boil-in-bag instant rice and it was perfect)
Salt/Pepper
Bean Sprouts.
Spinach
Carrots
1 egg
Garlic (chopped or crushed)
Vegetable oil
Sesame Oil
Red Chili paste/Sriracha Sauce. See note at end.

Directions, as written by the original poster:
First prepare your veggies. For carrots and other veggies cut them julienne style - really really thin.

First comes the spinach. On a hot skillet/pan poor some veggie oil. Heat to medium high. Throw your spinach in there with some garlic. Toss about. You are looking to WILT the spinach leaves, not cook it. When the spinach leaves have wilted, remove from heat (Lauren's Note: This takes about 5-7 minutes). Put in a bowl. Pour a little bit of sesame seed oil in and toss to coat. Let this sit for a while.

Next the rest of the veggies. Throw in your veggies, lets say carrots. Sautee until they are limp but don't over cook it! Season with salt/pepper as you please. Remove from heat, let it sit in its own plate. Move onto the next vegetable until they're all cooked.

Next fry the egg. You can do any style you want except scrambled. Sunny side up is prefered.

Put your steamed rice into a big bowl. If you go small, you will regret it. On top of the rice put the vegetables (Lauren's Note: Put each vegetable into its own separate section, for the traditional presentation of it). On top of it all put the egg. Drizzle some sesame seed oil on top to finish.

Serve with the chili paste on the side. Scoop in as much chili paste as you can handle and with your spoon mix the whole thing until everything is a delicious red color. It is important to break up the egg and make sure that everything gets distributed evenly.
Time to eat!

If you are interested in a more in-depth look at bibimbap, or want to see some pictures, here is the wikipedia page. You can also do a google image search to see pictures like this one (not mine). It looks better in real life though, I swear.

Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce is, according to the Huy Fong website, "made from sun ripen chilies which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic and packaged in a convenient squeeze bottle." Here is an example of the bottle:
sriracha
Basically it's a really, really spicy chili sauce. You only need a little bit, but we like to use a lot. It's pretty inexpensive, maybe $3 or $4 for a bottle. Everyone needs this in their kitchen!


To go with my bibimbap, I also made some sunomono. Sunomono is flavored, almost pickled, cucumbers. Sometimes they serve it at Japanese or Korean restaurants before the meal. I like it, so I thought it would be a good, cheap addition to the meal. Here is the recipe I used, from Cooking Light:

Sesame Cucumber Salad
1 3/4 cups (2-inch) julienne-cut English cucumber (about 1 large)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup red bell pepper strips
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place cucumber in a colander; sprinkle with salt. Toss well. Drain for 20 minutes. Combine cucumber and bell pepper in a medium bowl.

Combine vinegar, ginger, and oil, stirring with a whisk. Pour over cucumber mixture; toss gently to coat. Stir in crushed red pepper and black pepper.


I hope everyone has learned a lot today about delicious Korean foods.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Tonight I made a Cheese Enchilada Casserole from Cooking Light. It was super-easy and super-fast to make, which always wins points with me. He was skeptical at first because he hates it when I "make recipes compete with other recipes" - i.e., he really likes my normal cheese enchilada dish and didn't want anything to replace it. But I explained that this casserole was entirely different from my enchiladas, it just happened to have a similar name.

Changes: I didn't have monterey jack cheese so I just used cheddar in the whole recipe. This was a good decision, since I like cheddar cheese.

I really enjoyed it. He loved it until he discovered the chunks of tomato- then he did not love it as much. He picked out every tomato. But he ate the rest of it, which is a good sign. I will definitely make this again, but I will need to find something to replace the tomatoes. Maybe I will used canned diced tomatoes, since they have a different texture and maybe wouldn't be as noticeable.

Cheese Enchilada Casserole
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup taco sauce (such as Ortega)
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Arrange 3 tortillas in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread half of cheese mixture over tortillas. Repeat procedure with 3 tortillas and remaining cheese mixture; top with remaining tortillas.

Pour taco sauce over tortillas; sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

Yield: 4 servings

Edit: I am also now making carrot-cake muffins to eat during Lost, but it is from a mix. I just had to add milk and bake it, which was pretty sweet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Crockpot Vegetable Curry

Today I made Vegetable and Chickpea Curry, from an old issue of Cooking Light. I've been making this recipe for over a year or so because it is easy and it cooks in the crockpot. If you do not have a crockpot, I highly suggest you get one. It's nice because all the prep work is done early on in the day, and then when I get home from class or work in the evening, dinner is all done. Today I was just in the mood for curry, though.

My changes to the recipe: I usually omit the spinach because xx does not like it. And I don't do the lemon wedges thing. Not a big fan of paying extra money for garnishes. Also, sometimes I cook it on low for 8-10 hours if I know I'll be out til late. Seriously, get a crockpot.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup light coconut milk
6 lemon wedges

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add curry powder, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in chickpeas and next 8 ingredients (through broth). Cover and cook on HIGH 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 6 servings and tastes excellent warmed up in the microwave the next day.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jalapeno Poppers

I made some homemade jalapeno poppers for dinner tonight since he was watching the Redskins game. It seemed like appropriate football food. :-) Someone posted the recipe on the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards and got a good response, so I decided to try it. The end result looks very nice, even though it is extremely easy to make. I will probably make these again.

Things labeled "OP's Notes" in the recipe are not mine, they are from the original posting on the forums.

Baked Cheddar Stuffed Jalapenos
12 - 14 fresh green and/or red jalapeno peppers
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp chili powder
2 eggs
1 T. milk
1 cup dry fine bread crumbs

1. Line a baking sheet with foil, set aside. Cut each pepper in half lengthwise (do not remove stem), remove seeds and membranes, set aside.

OP's note - I tried to cut them in half right through the stem so that each half would have a stem. They looked pretty that way and also each pepper had their own little handle!!

2. For filling, in a medium bowl, stir together cheddar cheese, cream cheese and chili powder. Spread some filling into each pepper half.

OP's Note - I packed it in and then leveled it off so that it wasn't heaping over the pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 325. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk, beat with a whisk. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dip each pepper half inot egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs. Place pepper halves, filled sides up on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake about 25 minutes or until brown and heated through. Serve warm with sourcream, garnish with cilantro if desired. [Lauren's Note: We ate them with Ranch dressing. Also, next time I will bake it longer than just 25 minutes because I think they could have been a bit meltier and crispier]

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fettucine Bolognese

This is one of my favorite recipes to make because it is simple but it is so flavorful and impressive. I replaced 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef and 1/4 lb pancetta (which the original recipe called for) with 1 lb of soy crumbles to make it vegetarian, and it has worked out wonderfully. I also omit nutmeg from the original recipe because we don't like nutmeg very much. I usually make this dish at least once every two weeks because we enjoy it so much. The original recipe is from an issue of Real Simple magazine.

Fettucine Bolognese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb frozen soy crumbles (1 whole package)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (Note: I usually double this)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cooked fettucine

In a Duch oven, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the soy crumbles and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine and the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes (NOTE: I usually only simmer it for 15 minutes or less, while I boil the fettucine). Serve with cooked fettucine. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings


It's so nice to be back in Boston where I can cook every day!


Photo added on July 13, 2008:
bolognese