Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Caper Spaghetti Squash

I have had this giant spaghetti squash in my fridge for almost three weeks because I was unsure what I wanted to do with it. I found this recipe for Lemon Caper Spaghetti Squash and thought it looked interesting. Now, generally I am not a fan of capers but I knew there were some in my fridge from another recipe I made a while back and thought maybe they would grow on me. As I was cooking this recipe I assumed I would not like it since it had an unusual smell (this may be my pregnancy nose which seems to pick up on scents that no one else can detect) but now I am eating it while I type this and I think it is pretty darned good. I made a few changes and I did not exactly measure so who knows if I can ever recreate this:
-I used a giant spaghetti squash so I increased the other ingredients to almost double, except the margarine....1/4 cup is enough, maybe even too much. I bet a little broth would have worked.
-I added 1/2 of a chopped onion along with the red pepper
-I thought adding zucchini squash to another squash was just odd so I threw in some frozen peas (about 1/4-1/2 cup) instead
-I used basil instead of parsley since that was what I had around
-I used the juice of just one lemon

This is definitely a uniquely flavored, unexpected dish and I think I will go get me some more considering that spaghetti squash has only 42 calories per cup (I will just ignore the olive oil and margarine I used, ok?) :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Slow Cooker Modified "Red Beans and Rice"

I am trying to get to the gym regularly (side note - very frustrated with it. I have been making it to the gym 4-5 days a week. Yes. That often. And working out for 1 - 1 1/2 hours most times. That's a LOT. And I can't think of the last time I ate dessert. The weighing scale won't budge. I am frustrated). That said, to continue this policy of eating healthy, I try to cook in the slow cooker at least once a week so I will have something to come home to in the evening even on days I am at the gym till 7pm. This was one such recipe. It was easy, modified from the 'traditional' red beans and rice and tasted good enough. Not the best meal I have ever eaten, but works for a week-day meal.
Em, I think you can add beets to the beans in the slow cooker to use up some of them too!! I added onions, carrots and celery and some paprika for spice :)

Modified "Red Beans and Rice"

Red Kidney beans, 1 can or 4 oz soaked overnight (doesn't have to be cooked all the way yet)
Onion, 1 - chopped
Celery - 4 Stalks, chopped
Carrot - 2, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Cumin - 2-3 T
Vegetable Broth - 3 cups (add more water, based on your preference for consistency)
Paprika - 3 T
Salt - To taste
Thyme - 2 t, dried
Cilantro - 2 T (fresh)
Lemon Juice - 1 T
Cooked Rice.

Heat Oil in a pan. Saute onions, celery and carrot with garlic. Once cooked, add cumin and paprika. Add beans and coat.
Transfer to a slow cooker. Add vegetable broth/water, salt, thyme. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Before serving with rice, add lemon juice and cilantro.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cornbread Topped Pie and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry I haven't been doing much cooking lately (or maybe I just haven't been doing much blogging lately....not sure). I have made a few things lately that I thought I would share with you.

Cornbread Topped Pie
I am not sure that I have an exact recipe since I tend to throw this together but basically I sauteed some onion, green pepper and garlic in pan until soft. Then I added a can of kidney beans, 1/2-3/4 cup of frozen corn, several TB of taco seasoning and a small can of tomato sauce. While this is warming, make a batch of cornbread. I make Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan from and always love it. It does make far more than you need for this recipe so I made a few corn muffins on the side. If you are using a cast iron dutch oven as I did, spoon cornbread batter directly on top of warmed pie mix until you have a thin layer. Remember, it will rise quite a bit. Bake as directed in the cornbread recipe (although it may need a shorter cooking time since it is thinner). If you are using a pan that cannot go in the oven, transfer bean mixture into a pie plate and then top with corn bread mix. Serve with a bit of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream.

Best Ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
I did not name these cookies and, although they were good, I am not sure I would call them "Best Ever." According to my husband the problem is simply that I cook things too long when I bake so I guess they were a little over done. Anyhow, I found this recipe online on a whim while looking for ways to use up a bag of oats that was nearing the end of its shelf life. I think I will try them again but cook for less time and maybe add something that will make them chewier, like agave or applesauce. Any ideas? They were rock hard by the next day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Roasted Pepper, Eggplant and Broccoli-Quinoa Stir Fry

A colorful platter. Having a variety of colors in your meal is supposed to be healthy and ensure that you get different minerals/vitamins and nutrients. So this should be a good meal :) I made it over a week ago, but did not get to posting it - let's see if I remember exactly how I made the meal.

Roasted Vegetables are easy. I cut the 'chosen' vegetable and brush with Olive Oil, mixed with salt, pepper and a smattering of dried herbs. And roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 mintues. Yummy.

Broccoli-Quinoa Stir Fry was also very easy. I quick-cooked the Broccoli florets and stems in just enough water to cover the vegetables with salt and red pepper flakes. On the side, I cooked quinoa according to package directions. I sauteed the broccoli florets, minced ginger (1 t) and garlic (1 T) and morning star grillers (you can substitute Tofu here too) in a little olive oil. Added hoisin sauce (1 T), slivered almonds. Taste and add more salt and/or red pepper flakes as needed. Mix in the quinoa, squeeze lemon juice (1 t) and it's ready to eat!

Hopefully, I'll post more often regularly. My nephew is here (Neel, and very very cute!!) and my in-laws and parents are back in India, so I am going to have to get back into the kitchen and cook away - every night!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Our CSA packet from last week had a butternut squash. The family (my parents are still here) agreed on a soup (with home-made pizza) for dinner. It has been a cold enough summer to warrant some soup. Especially on Monday night.

This recipe is modified from the Moosewood Recipes. That's where the idea of sage warmed with butter came from - that's not me! Here is the link to the recipe - Moosewood's Butternut Squash Soup

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chaat -Indian Fast Food

When we started this blog, Em did not want too many Indian recipes for herself - her family is not big fans of 'ethnic' foods. But, recently, she asked for Indian recipes because her daughter liked samosas. I love them too, but have no interest in frying anything for any length of time.

We went for a BBQ this past weekend. Our host suggested a 'Spicy Indian Dish' for me to bring. I made this up with the help of some pre-packaged spices. These are available at most Indian stores.
Here is a wikipedia entry about 'Chaat'. To me, they are the best Indian fast food one can eat. Often, not very healthy - has some fried components to it. And there is a wide variety and range of flavors. I created mine as I went along.

Chick Pea Chaat


Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans) - 2 cans
Potatoes - 2 steamed and mashed
Onion - 1 chopped
Tomato - 1 or 2 chopped
Cilantro - 4 T chopped
Lemon Juice - 1 T
Chaat Masala - 2-3 T (or per your taste) - locally available at Food Mart
Date -Tamarind Chutney or Bhel Puri Chutney - 4-5 T (lots of recipes if you google it; or available at local Indian store - Food Mart)
Sev - 1/2 cup (or as much crunch as you would like; as above - available in Indian stores)
Salt, Chilli powder - to taste

Mash potatoes well, after steaming. Mix together all ingredients, leaving the Sev till the end. Because it is crunchy, adding it to the rest of the mixture can cause it to get soggy. Add it at the end - just before serving.

Add salt, chilli powder (or sugar) at the end - based on your taste and the spiciness of the masala and chutneys.

For variation, can add dry-roasted peanuts or cashews too. If it is too spicy, you can add yogurt too - a common addition to chaat. Also, here is a link to 'papri' or spicy wafers that you can add to the mix for more of a crunchy flavor.