Monday, November 27, 2006

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

I take NO credit for this one (Rachel Ray gets a big Kudos on this), but it is awesome!

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in sauce
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
1 cup Soymilk (my vegan substitution)
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
Coarse salt
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

Much better the second day! Watch the cayenne if you don't like spicy foods. It has quite a nice zip with the 1/2 teaspoon.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red Wine Risotto

I got this idea from Everyday Italian on the Food Network

1-2 TB Olive oil
1 Medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio (risotto) rice
3/4 cup red wine. Use a wine that you would like to drink with the meal :)
1 bunch parsley, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas (or broccoli if you'd rather. You might want to steam it up a tad first if you use broccoli)
2 cans vegetable broth

Put the broth in a pot and heat on a back burner. Sautee onion and garlic in the oil over med-high heat in a medium sized pot. When onion is translucent add the rice. Toast the rice until it kind of smells a little bit like popcorn, and gets very slightly tan (2-3 minutes). Add red wine. Stir frequently. Once wine is absorbed add hot vegetable broth 1/2-1 cup at a time (I use a ladle for the transfer). Keep stirring frequently. The keys to making good risotto are:

1. Stir, stir, stir
2. Add liquid in small quantities
3. Do not overcook! It is done when it is still very slightly tough. There is a very fine line between perfect and overdone.

You will probably not need to add all of the broth.

When the rice is almost done add the peas. After 1 minute add the parsley. Serve with fresh cracked pepper and fresh bread.

For fairness to the non-vegans out there: This is very good with a generous serving of fresh grated parmagiano reggiano cheese.

For protein feel free to add tofu. I am going to buy some soy protein powder. This is a great recipe to slip that in. It's so creamy I don't think it would affect the taste too much

Easy Hummus

Why buy hummus when you can just make it at home!

1 can chick peas (either with juice, or drain. If you drain you'll need to add water to the hummus)
1/3 cup Tahini (ground sesame seeds)
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 TB Olive oil
Salt to taste

Just food process it up and you have hummus.
Our favorite add-ins (mix or match)

2 cloves garlic
2 TB parsley
2 TB Basil
2 ts paprika
Sun-dried tomatoes

Serve with pita, in sandwhiches, or as a healthy and delicious veggie dip

Easy, Nutritious falafel pita sandwich

First, buy a mix like this. It's a just add water type of mix. Form into small balls, put balls in a non-stick muffin tin and broil in the oven for 5 minutes on the lower rack. Leftover balls can be stored in the fridge and nuked at a minute's notice!

Cut a large whole wheat pita in half and pry open. Add lettuce, cucumbers, falafel balls and hummus. Delicious and no need to fry the falafel!

Papa Louie's Power bars!

• Mix:
1 ½ C of corn syrup or brown rice syrup
1 C all natural peanut butter

• Stir in:
2 C of oats
2 C of grape nut cereal or kashi 7 whole grain nuggets

• Add:
3 C of your choice of mixin’s and fixin’s:
dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut,
wheat germ, flax seed, protein powder, spices, etc.

My favorite mixin’s and fixin’s combo includes:
1 cup of chocolate chips, 1 cup coconut, and 1 cup raisins; along with
1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp flax seed and a swig of molasses.

• Bake: 350 degrees in a 9 x 13 pan for 8 minutes.

• Cool: 1 hour then cut into 32 bars

• Wrap each bar separately (I use baggies) then put bars in a gallon size
ziploc bag. Store in freezer and pull out individual bars as needed.

Tofu Tacos

This one is from my roommate Colleen:

1/2 large red onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 green pepper diced
1 can black beans
1 can homini
1 cup fresh salsa
2 tomatoes diced
1 package of firm tofu (crumbled)
1-2 jalapenos
a bunch of cilantro
1 package taco seasoning

Saute onions and garlic in 1-2 tablespoons oil (olive, or whatever you prefer). Add everything else except cilantro (crumble in the tofu). Cook until hot. Add chopped cilantro.

This can be eaten alone, or in tortillas. Super easy, too!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I stole this from Bryce_d over at slowtwitch. Very tasty:

* 1 cup quinoa
* 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
* 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
* 1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped mint
* 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
* 1/4 cup crumbled feta
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Rinse the quinoa in water until the water no longer is cloudy. Drain well, then toast in a skillet over medium heat until starting to brown (~4 mins). Bring 2 cups of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and quinoa. Bring back to boil, then simmer on low for 12 mins. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse with cold water.Meanwhile use skillet to toast raw pumpkin seeds until they start to brown and puff up (~5 mins). In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, feta, and quinoa. Shake together olive oil, lemon juice, some cracked pepper and salt to taste. Pour over salad, toss well, and leave to stand for 15 mins before serving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jumbalaya Time!

This was my favorite recipe in my carniverous life. It's still pretty darn good as a veggie delight:

3 TBs Margarine
1 large onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 container sliced mushrooms
2 large green peppers, chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
2 zucchini chopped
1/2 container Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic Seasoning (more or less depending on how spicy you like your food)
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 cups Long grain brown rice
1 can vegetable broth

Melt margarine over med-high heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and sautee for 3 minutes. Add half of the remaining vegetables and half of the seasoning. Cook until veggies are soft. Add the remaining ingredients, boil, cover and simmer until rice is done. You may need to add a little water. Just check in and stir occassionally. Serve with fresh bread. Yum!

Butternut Squash Soup

2 big butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cans vegetable broth
1 large sweet potato (or regular potato)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sherry wine
1/2 cup soy milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour a thin layer of water in a baking dish, or a cookie sheet with sides. Place the squash halves cut side down on the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the flesh. Cool slightly, then remove the peel. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for a few minutes, until tender. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot. Add the potato, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Add the squash, and mash with the potatoes until chunks are small. Use an immersible hand blender to puree the soup, or transfer to a blender or food processor in batches, and puree until smooth. Return to the pot.
Season the soup with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper, then stir in the sherry and soymilk. Heat through, but do not boil. Ladle into bowls or ziploc containers for on the go!

I actually mistakenly made this the first time with acorn squash and I think it was even better than butternut

Veggie Chili

1 head celery diced
1 large onion chopped
2 large green peppers diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 large can tomato puree
1 large can tomato chunks
1 normal sized can kidney beans
1 normal sized can black beans
1 normal sized can red beans
1 normal sized can corn
2 packets taco seasoning

Optional: add a meat substitute, or crumbled tofu. I think that falaffel works too!

This one's easy!

Brown the meat substitute (if applicable) on the stovetop in a very large pot. Add everything and cook on high covered for around 30 minutes stirring often, then simmer until it tastes yummy (10 minutes to hours depending on your taste). Alternatively, brown the "meat", then throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Great to start in the morning and come home to a deliciously smelling house.

This freezes well. I always have some available in the freezer for when I don't feel like cooking.

Fabulous Italian Bread dip recipes

Super easy dip #1:

1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
sprig of Rosemary chopped
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

That's it. It's great for dipping fresh bread. If you have a hard time digesting garlic, you might want to bake it (the garlic) first...

Less easy, but more delicious pesto dip #2

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Half an avacado
small can of black olives

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again. Add avacado, blend; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container. Add olives, blend. Process basil pesto until it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well.

Mexican Quinoa and Lentil Powerhouse

This one is super easy:

1 cup lentils
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans
1 jar hot salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
5 cups water

Bring it all to a boil- cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Voila! 4 protein rich meals

As always, make sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking

It's granola time!

Note: I don't measure anything with this recipe, so if my estimates are wrong, just change things aroung. Granola is just made how you like it!

8 cups old fashioned oats (buy in bulk at a health food store to save money)
1 cup nuts broked into smaller pieces, but not chopped. I do this with my hands(I like pecans best, then walnuts)
1 cup seeds (I used pumpkin, you can also use sunflower (out of husk!))
2-3 TB flax seeds (grind them up fine with a food processor or coffee grinder)
About 1/2 cup honey
about 1/2 cup hot water
2-3 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg (apple pie spice works too!)
1-2 packages dried fruit (my favorites are cherries and cranberries. Any dried fruit will do as long as it's cut into little pieces)

Preheat oven to 350

Combine oats, nuts, seeds, and ground flax in a big bowl. Mix with your hands until even. In a smaller bowl squeeze out about 1/2 cup of honey. Don't measure this it's too messy. Add the seasoning to the honey then put about 1/2 cup hot water from the faucet into the honey. Combine with a fork until homogeneous. Pour honey mixture into bowl with oats. Mix with hands until oats are wet. If you have to, make more honey mixture.

Spread out granola mix evenly onto a couple cookie sheets and throw in the oven. Every 10 minutes or so take out the granoloa and turn it with a spatula. You want to make sure that you mix well because the granola on the outside will burn. Granola is done cooking when it is golden brown and crispy and the honey has dried. Pour granola back into a clean dry bowl. Toss in the dried fruit.

Voila! Makes a ton of granola. 1/2 cup is about 150 calories. I portion out about 20 ziploc bags with 1/2 cup each and throw them into my drawer at work. It's my favorite snack!

Italian Quinoa Delight

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cans diced tomatos with chili peppers
2 peppers chopped(I used Orange because they were on sale)
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini sliced
1/4 cup freshly diced basil
2-3 TB dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

First things first- always rinse quinoa in a sieve prior to cooking

In large pot combine water and quinoa and cook on high until boiling. Turn down heat, cover and simmer.

Meanwhile, sautee chopped onions, mushrooms and garlic for 2 minutes, then add canned tomatoes, chopped peppers, zucchini, half the basil, and half the oregano. cook on med-high until veggies are tender. Then combine the veggies with the quinoa and cook together until the quinoa is done (it should be light and fluffy- an outer shell will be present. Add the rest of the spices and salt and pepper as you wish.

Quinoa is a wonderful and tasty protein rich grain with a full compliment of amino acids.