Thursday, January 30, 2014

Spinach Risotto

This risotto is a good, simple meal on it's own but if you want to get fancy, try this:  heat a little oil in a small pan and sauté sliced mushrooms with garlic, dill, black pepper, and a splash of white wine.  The addition of mushrooms take this dish to a whole other level of yumminess!

1 1/2c baby bella mushrooms, sliced
 1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8c olive oil
1/4c onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1c arborio rice
1/4c white wine
2 1/2c vegetable broth
4c fresh spinach, chopped
1/2c Mediterranean flavor feta, crumbled

1.  In a medium size pot, over medium high heat, add 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil and sauté onions about 3 minutes, or until golden.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.

2.  Add the rice an stir until fully coated with oil. 

3.  Pour in the wine an stir continuously, until all the wine is absorbed by the rice.

4.  Add the broth, 1c at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.  

5.  Once all the broth is absorbed, stir in the spinach, reduce heat to low and continue stirring occasionally until spinach is wilted.

6.  Top with feta cheese and serve.

Served topped with mushrooms and a side of oven-roasted asparagus.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Black Bean Chili

I don't know why I've waited so long to write a post about this chili.  I've been serving it for years, usually over couscous or rice, and everyone loves it!  Last night though, I served the chili by itself and it was just as satisfying as always (minus the additional calories!).  I suppose a more appropriate title would be something more like, "black bean, red pepper, mushroom, and corn chili" but that just seemed like a ridiculously long name so.... black bean chili.

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil 
1/2c onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2c corn
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4c vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt

Optional toppings: 
cheddar cheese, jalapeño slices, chopped green onions

1.  In a medium pan, over medium-high heat, sauté onion, pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, and corn for about 5 min., or until vegetables are softened and fragrant.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

3.  Using an immersion blender, puree approximately 1/4 - 1/2 the mixture.

4.  Top with cheddar cheese, jalapeño slices, and chopped green onions.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Easy Green Smoothie

I'm on a bit of a juice and smoothie kick lately so it is not unusual to find large quantities of various fruits and vegetables crammed into the refrigerator or piled up on the counters in my kitchen.  Giant bags of apples, oranges, celery, garlic, carrots, kale….

I have figured out something about myself and kale though…  I have no interest in eating kale as a salad or even baked as chips but I can drink it all day long in smoothie form.  The taste is somewhat bitter but that is easily cut by the sweetness of whatever fruits you blend with it (apples would be good here, I think).

I like this particular smoothie combination because it doesn't just taste good; it's also low calorie, gluten-free, and vegan.  And surprisingly filling!

1 large banana
2c kale
3 oranges
1/4c almond mik
1 TBSP ground flax seed

Place everything in a blender and puree until smooth.

Good morning!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crispy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout

My husband and I both recently read the same book on the benefits of a gluten-free diet and decided to give it a try.  The results have been positive - I've dropped 5 lbs. in the last two weeks (It was 6.5 but I slipped).  However, as a vegetarian pasta and bread lover, the switch has been somewhat challenging.
And then I remembered how much I love polenta and the way it satisfies me in a way very similar to that of my beloved pastas and breads.

A few notes about this recipe:

*  Before serving, I did pop the polenta rounds in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
*  I used vegan butter (it's the only kind I buy anymore).
*  I had big plans to make my own polenta but just ran short on time.  And really, the pre-made stuff      worked great.

1 pkg. pre-made polenta
1/2c cornmeal
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 TBSP Italian parsley, chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter

2 TBSP olive oil
1/3c yellow onion, chopped
2 pkg. mushrooms (I used 1 baby bella and 1 shiitake), sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4c Marsala wine
1 1/2c vegetable broth
2 TBSP Italian parsley, chopped

1.  Slice polenta into 1" thick rounds.  Begin heating butter and oil in a large skillet over Medium heat.

2.  In a small bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Dredge each round in the cornmeal mixture and add to skillet.

3.  Allow polenta to cook 5-10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.  Remove any cornmeal residue from the pan.

4.  To the skillet, add remaining 2 TBSP olive oil.  Saute onions and mushrooms until soft and fragrant.

5.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper.  Continue cooking and stirring another 2-3 minutes.

6.  Pour in the wine and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to Low and simmer approximately 15 minutes.

7.  Top polenta rounds with mushroom sauce and serve immediately.


The one serving leftover will be my lunch today!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Clean Out the Fridge Soup

What to do when the crisper fill up with various odds & ends like half a bag of broccoli, two carrots, a potato, parsley that is starting to look wilted and sad, etc.?  This happened at my house yesterday and I declared a Soup Night!

All you really need is whatever vegetables and/or beans (I used both) you have on hand and some broth.  Yes, it's that simple.  The following recipe lists the ingredients I happened to use last night:

1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
1/4c onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Russet potato - cubed
2c cauliflower florets
1c broccoli florets
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
5c vegetable broth
1/4c Italian parsley, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

1.  In a medium pot, over medium heat, combine oil and butter.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened; about 5 minutes.

2.  Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer 20-30 minutes over low heat, until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.  Stir in the parsley, adjust the seasoning and serve.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beer Cheese Soup

This is what we had for dinner last night.  It was a simple, filling, and delicious cold weather meal.  For the beer, I used a pale ale and feel like anything darker would have been way too overpowering.

3/4c carrots, diced
1/2c onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2c vegetable broth
3/4c light beer
2 TBSP butter
2 1/2 TBSP all-purpose flour
2c milk
3c sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, cayenne papper sauce, sea salt, black pepper, vegetable broth, and beer.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

2.  Add the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and yellow mustard; stir to combine and set aside.

2.  In a separate large pot, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring until thickened.  Whisk in the milk and continue stirring until thickened again.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.

3.  Add in vegetable mixture and simmer to heat through, about 10-15 minutes.
Homemade soft pretzels also pair really well with this soup!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Black-Eyed Pea and Cabbage Stew

The first day of 2014 and I'm bringing back this recipe from last New Year's.  So good, we're having it again for dinner tonight!


It is well known and understood in this house that everyone is required to eat the black-eyed peas and cabbage served on New Year's Day.  In previous years, I have served the peas and cabbage as two separate side dishes and watched as both boys put just the very teensiest amount they thought would be acceptable on their plates.  

So, this year I tried a new approach by putting everything in one big pot and the resulting stew was delicious!

1 TBSP olive oil
3/4c onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
2c chicken broth (I used a vegan no-chicken broth)
3/4c brown rice
2 cans black-eyed peas with liquid
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles with liquid
2 cloves garlic, minced
1c cooked cabbage

1.  In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion, green pepper, red pepper, and celery; cook and stir until tender.

3.  Add the broth, rice, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, and garlic.

4.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer approximately 1 hour.  Add the cabbage during the last 15 minutes.

Served with cornbread.  Happy New Year!


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