January 30, 2012
So I am on a pretty strict food plan right now, so anything I can eat that tastes great and fits in this plan makes me VERY happy! This soup fits both of these criteria. I will say…if you like mushrooms, you’ll love it! If you don’t like mushrooms, stop reading now.
2 pounds sliced mushrooms
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB Olive Oil
2 TB Flour
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
Heat oil and saute mushrooms, onion and garlic until onion softens. Mix in flour, then stir in red wine and slowly add vegetable broth. Heat to boil, cover then simmer for at least 20 minutes. In my opinion, 20 minutes is enough, but the longer the better for full flavor. I simmered mine for almost 2 hours and it was fabulous!
[Note added: So I made this again and simmered for a while and the mushrooms soaked up all the liquid! Make sure it is on very low heat if you choose to let it sit longer, but I'm beginning to think 30 minutes is the appropriate cook time!]
January 6, 2012
That seems to be the answer in our little world. I rarely go wrong with pasta, and with four kids, that is saying a lot. I have turned pasta meals into an art! We do pasta bars on a regular basis. The kids can choose their sauce and toppings, but we are still all eating the same meal (sort of). And since I regularly serve a child who loves their pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Parmesan, pesto and olives, as well as a child who prefers plain pasta with butter and salt, being flexible and creative is a necessity.
The other night I made up a baked pasta and was happy with the results. 2 kids had seconds, 1 finished their first serving with no complaining, and 1 had some issues with the broccoli but was fine with the rest. Even the big boy was happy! Always a plus.
Remember, I made this for 6, so feel free to shrink it down!
2 16 oz packages of pasta (I used penne)
1 package of provolone chopped into pieces (I can’t find provolone unsliced, so I just bought it sliced and chopped it up. You could use shredded mozzarella or swiss, too.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
About 2 cups of small broccoli florets. I made them super small in hopes to make it more child friendly.
Cook pasta according to package. Meanwhile, make white sauce. Feel free to follow a recipe for this from any cookbook. I’ve made it so many times that I sorta do it by instinct now, so I know this might not be super easy to follow.
Melt 4 TB Butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add 2-3 TB of Flour and stir to make a paste. Add 1 TB of minced garlic (you can use garlic salt too) then slowly begin adding milk. Start by adding about 1/2 cup and mix together with the paste. When it seems like most of the lumps are dissolved, begin adding more milk. Altogether, you should add about 2 cups of milk to the flour/butter mixture. Stir constantly while cooking over medium to high heat. It should begin to thicken after a few minutes. If it does not thicken, add more flour. Once it is to a point where it seems thick enough, remove it from the heat. Oh, and make sure you do all of this with a wooden spoon.
Pour sauce over cooked drained noodles and stir. Add cheddar cheese, provolone (reserve about 1/2 cup) and broccoli and mix together. Sprinkle in some salt, too. Pour half of noodles in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer with remainder of provolone. Top with remainder of noodles. Sprinkle bread crumbs across the top in a thin layer and dot with butter.
Bake at 350 until heated through, about 20 minutes or so.
January 6, 2012
I have always loved Mediterranean food. In fact, I once had a goal to learn to make dolmas. After some lengthy research I decided some things are meant to be store bought! I was very excited this year when I found out our Christmas Eve theme was Mediterranean! Perfect time to try out some new recipes.
After some digging around on the internet, I found a recipe for falafel that was highly rated and reviewed. It turned out to be just about perfect! I’ve made it twice now and it’s virtually fool-proof. I love falafel; it is one of the many items that make Mediterranean food so vegetarian friendly. This is from allrecipes.com and I highly recommend it:
1 (15 oz) can drained garbanzo beans
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
t TB olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying
in a large bowl mash the garbanzo beans until thick and pasty. I used a plastic potato masher. In a blender (I used a food processor) process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Add to garbanzo beans and mix.
In a small bowl, combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into garbanzo bean mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add the bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together. Form into golf ball size balls then slightly flatten.
Heat 1 inch of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until browned, flip then fry on other side.
This makes about 15 falafel balls.
Then, mix up some super easy Couscous:
2 cups cooked couscous
1 Chopped cucumber
1 Diced tomato
1 Chopped small red onion
Juice of a lemon
Dash of Olive Oil
Fresh mint leaves (1/4 cup or so)
Mix all ingredients together. Add more lemon juice if needed.
To turn this into a meal, serve with:
Pre-made dolmas. They sell excellent ones at my local Fred Meyer in the section with the stuffed olives. At Market of Choice, they are in the deli section. And I’ve seen them at Costco as well.
Pita and/or flatbread
Caramelized sweet onion
Roasted garlic cloves and mushrooms
Stuffed Green Olives
Salad Dressing (You can find some fun greek salad dressings, or balsamic vinegar works well, too.)
This is a very fun meal for a casual group get together! Throw everything on large platters and let people make their own meals!
January 6, 2012
without Chicken or noodles!
There’s nothing like a good cup of Chicken Noodle Soup, especially this time of year. Cold nights + warm soup = perfection!
Being a vegetarian does not mean giving up this cold fighter. In fact, when you try this soup, I bet you won’t even miss the chicken! This recipe is also super easy and doesn’t take many ingredients. You could do all store bought vegetable stock or mix it up like I do. Personally, I find this to be a bit cheaper and just as flavorful. However, I wouldn’t recommend skipping the store bought vegetable broth and making all of the broth yourself.
2 cups of chopped carrots
2 cups of chopped celery
32 oz of Vegetable Stock
32 oz of water
16 oz uncooked orzo
Vegetable Bouillon (You can get this in cubes, I but I prefer Better than Bouillon.)
2 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp salt, dash or two of pepper
In large stock pot, heat oil and add carrots and celery. Cook on Medium High stirring constantly for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add orzo, and boil for 6 minutes. Drain.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to carrots and celery. Add vegetable broth. Follow bouillon directions to make 32 oz of vegetable stock and add to pot. (With Better than Bouillon, you add 1 tsp per 8 oz of boiling water.)
Bring to a boil. Add drained orzo. Reduce to medium low and cover. Let simmer until carrots and celery soften.
This makes pretty thick soup, which my kids tend to like more. You can substitute orzo with pasta. I’ve used elbow macaroni before, but I prefer orzo. Made this last night and it served 3 adults and 2 kids with some left over.
I like to serve with warm bread and salad. Enjoy!