Posts tagged with Vegetarian
Happy Thanksgiving week, friends. I hope everyone is warm and cozy and gearing up to devour some delicious seasonal treats on the big day (and then for a few days thereafter).
Last week, I shared an easy and tasty side dish perfect for bringing to dinner or adding to your own menu. This week, I've decided I’d share a recipe geared more to those inevitable holiday hours when everyone is around the house, looking for something fun to do, and trying to avoid eating all of the special Turkey Day food (both before and after the day itself).
Therefore, I present the perfect, healthy, kid-friendly snack for this holiday week (and the ones we’ll have in December): Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches.
These are easy, require no special equipment, and, by design, they include ingredients you probably already have around the house: bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. Because, if there’s one thing that’s no fun, it’s heading to the store for a single ingredient during the holiday rush.
Make a few with your kids while you enjoy the holiday hours together, and then make them again over winter break in a few weeks. They’re messy and won’t impress guests, but they’re good fun for the kids and the grownups, and they double as a not-so-bad cabin fever snack.
Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches
2 medium bananas or 1 large one
2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips (or a chopped-up bar of regular chocolate if you don’t have chocolate chips)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a double broiler (or a glass bowl mounted over water in a saucepan), begin to melt the chocolate chips over low heat. Meanwhile, slice the bananas into quarter-inch slices. Spread a bit of peanut butter on half the slices (this is awkward but fun) and then assemble your banana-peanut butter sandwiches.
When the chocolate has melted, use a toothpick (or just your fingers — no need to head to the store for just toothpicks!) to dip one side of the banana sandwiches in chocolate. Place each dipped sandwich on the lined cookie sheet.
When all the sandwiches are made and coated, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Then pull them out and enjoy.
You can store these in the freezer, but they probably won't last long enough to do so.
Variation: If you want a version without any refined sugar, swap the chocolate chips for 1/4 cup semi-soft coconut oil (too melted and it won’t coat properly), 1 tablespoon (or more) maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder. Mix it together and use it to coat the sandwiches. You may need to freeze the sandwiches once first and then dip them in this mixture before returning them to the freezer.
It’s hard for some people to imagine, but maternity leave isn’t just a 12-week staycation with a cute baby. It’s 12 weeks of barely any schedule, unpredictable amounts of sleep and never knowing when you’ll actually have time to do something.
Which means that I both have time and don’t have time right now to actually get in the kitchen and cook.
There are blocks of time where I could prep and cook a great meal. But the chances of a particular block of time like that being around an actual preferred eating time (breakfast, lunch or dinner) are slim to none. Try more like 5:30 a.m. or 2:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Not exactly ideal.
Plus, half the time I’ll either end up with an hour I didn’t know I was going to get (surprise!) or plan on time that’s not there (double surprise!).
Obviously, it’s sort of hard to time something in the kitchen if you have no idea if you’ll have to tend to a fussy baby in the middle of chopping things or right when you need to flip something in the oven. Thus, my cooking has been pretty much limited to weekends — not helpful when I want to make something fresh for lunch or dinner.
To make things easier, I’ve been trying tricks that I’ve heard about but never necessarily tried. Up first: the genius use of a slow cooker to “bake” sweet potatoes.
I heard about this cooking hack more than year ago, but I’d never actually decided to give it ago until I really, really needed it to work. Which is dumb, because all you have to do is wrap potatoes in foil and place them in your slow cooker. I have no idea why I waited so long.
Prep took about a minute. And four hours later, I had a blissfully perfect baked sweet potato, plus three more to have for leftovers during the work week, when eating lunch is usually a difficult, solo affair.
I know it sounds silly that it’s easier to have something cook for four hours than for 45 minutes, but if you’ve ever lived on the uneven terrain that is fresh parenthood, you’ll know exactly why this seems so much easier.
And if you haven’t or are long past that point? You’ll still love the “set it and forget it” easiness to this recipe.
“Baked” Potatoes A La Slow Cooker
3-4 medium sweet potatoes, skins washed
Wrap each sweet potato in foil. (No need to poke holes in the potatoes). Place the wrapped potatoes in a single layer in a slow cooker. (Mine can fit four, though some may only fit two or three.) Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Remove, split open and enjoy.
October is pretty tuber-tubular, according to the local farm set.
A group of area farmers, foodies, restaurants and stores have banded together to make October “Celebrate Sweet Potatoes” month in Lawrence, even going so far as getting the City Commission to give the orange spud its own month.
The group set up a website, celebratesweetpotatoes.com, and filled it with information on events, “Tuber Tuesday” sweet potato specials and facts about the different types of potatoes and their stellar nutritional value.
Hoyland Farm’s Bob Lominska says the idea really is just to get local eaters out of the idea that sweet potatoes are strictly for eating with marshmallows at Thanksgiving.
If you’ve followed this space for the past few years, you know I’m quite the sweet potato fan and feature them often in my recipes and the recipes I share. As part of my own personal mini celebration of sweet potatoes, I went back through my recipes and found some of my favorites, and thought I’d also share a recipe I haven’t yet that pairs two of my favorite fall staples.
But first, some of my personal favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes include:
Now, for a new recipe. I love this dish from Nancy O’Connor’s “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” because it’s pretty and pretty versatile. It really is both a side dish and a dessert (I’ve even had it for breakfast). If that sounds like it could be a description of the old marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes of yore, think again. This one has the added bonus of apples and makes your kitchen smell like that homey scent Yankee Candle only thinks it gets right.
Oh, and even though October is almost over, there’s obviously nothing wrong with keeping the tuber-tubular train rolling well into spring.
Sweet Potato and Apple Bake 2 or 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced approximately 1/4-inch thick
2 flavorful fall apples, peeled and sliced approximately 1/4-inch thick (I used Granny Smith and didn’t peel them)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a large shallow baking dish. Arrange sweet potato and apple slices attractively in dish.
Combine butter, maple syrup or honey, cider and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter is melted.
Pour half of the mixture over the sweet potatoes and apples. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Halfway through the baking, drizzle the remaining butter/syrup mixture over the sweet potatoes and apples. Serves 6.
— Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor
October is a strange time of year if you eat seasonally. It’s easy to want the best of both worlds — the taste of summer to go along with the sort of warm comfort food that sounds so fantastic when a chill comes to the air.
Luckily, there are quite a few dishes that bridge the gap between summer and fall quite well. One of them being the famous French stewed vegetable dish ratatouille. It’s an entree that highlights summer vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash) all the while being warm in a way that would be perfect in the dead of winter.
Local cookbook author/food maven Nancy O’Connor takes ratatouille one step further in the direction of a cold weather dish with a recipe from her “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” that combines the deliciousness of ratatouille with the extreme comfort food quotient of a baked pasta dish. The results are a bridge of beauty.
My hubby liked this so much, in fact, that he wants to try the same sort of method with other seasonal vegetables when the weather really does turn. So keep your eyes peeled for a “winter ratatouille bake” later on.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups eggplant, peeled and diced
2 cups zucchini (or other summer squash), chopped
1 large green or red pepper, diced
2 to 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8- to 10-ounce package frozen cheese-filled pasta (ravioli or tortellini)
4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated
Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and eggplant and saute for several minutes, stirring constantly. Add zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook over medium heat several minutes more. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. While vegetables are simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Lightly oil a large casserole and line bottom with cooked pasta. Cover with hot vegetables (ratatouille). Top with grated cheese. Broil until nicely brown on top. Serves 6.
— Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor
Honestly, I hate casseroles.
I don’t know if it’s the word I don’t like or if I just had a gag reflex to tuna casserole as a child.
I just know that most of the time when something is called a “casserole” I immediately get anxious and start trying to figure out which sides I might be able to fill up on instead.
And though even as an adult I still have a weirdness about casserole, I am extremely glad I got over it for a night and tried the following dish: Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole.
The second my hubby took his first bite, he immediately announced it to be possibly his new favorite dinner. And at my first bite, I happily agreed. Even the kiddo tried it and liked it (score).
Crowd pleasing, indeed!
Note: We made ours with leftover basmati rice from India Palace takeout. Starting with pre-cooked rice is definitely a huge time-saver on this one.
Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole
For the Tex-Mex spice blend:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika or 1/2 teaspoon regular paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
For the casserole:
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded, if desired, and diced
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
2 to 3 cups chopped kale leaves or baby spinach
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked wild rice blend or brown rice
1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese such as Daiya (If you aren’t into fake cheese, just use Colby-Jack or omit it all together)
1 to 2 handfuls corn tortilla chips, crushed
Sliced green onions
Sour cream (regular or non-dairy)
Make the Tex-Mex spice blend: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and coriander (if using). Set aside.
Make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Oil a large (4 to 5 quart) casserole dish.
In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and jalapeño and saute for 7 to 8 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and black pepper.
Stir in the Tex-Mex spice blend, corn, diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, kale/spinach, beans, rice and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Saute for a few minutes and season with more salt and black pepper, if desired.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the crushed chips over the casserole mixture along with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Uncover the casserole dish and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until bubbly and lightly golden around the edges.
Scoop the casserole into bowls and add your desired toppings. Serves 6.
— Recipe from “The Oh She Glows Cookbook” by Angela Liddon
Confession time: If you follow me on Twitter (@shhenning), you might already know that I’m pregnant. And probably going to have another kid just about any second now.
In any case, as most of you know, pregnancy often comes with its fair share of cravings. In fact, if you look back in these posts, you can tell I was having a major love affair with curry during my first trimester.
But in August, a new, forceful craving emerged: the BLT.
Which is funny because I haven’t had bacon in probably 20 years or more.
Though, it wasn’t the bacon I was craving, per se, it was the mixture of crusty bread, juicy tomatoes and mayo that I really, really wanted.
So I came up with my own twist on the BLT: The AST, otherwise known as the avocado, spinach and tomato sandwich.
I’ve had probably three a week since. Don’t judge me. The baby loves it. Apparently, she’s as much of a “rut” eater as I am.
Recipe note: I know that most people probably eat their BLTs on sandwich bread. I prefer a baguette because when combined with mayo, it reminds me of some truly great sandwiches I had while studying abroad in Spain in college. Even if you’re not a crusty bread person, I urge you to give it a go. You might just love the hard/soft combo of ingredients.
The AST (Avocado, Spinach and Tomato) Sandwich
1/3 to 1/2 crusty baguette (We used Wheatfields), sliced in half
1/2 large slicing tomato, preferably a Cherokee purple, Brandywine or beefsteak, sliced
Half an avocado, sliced
Handful baby spinach
Mayo, Vegenaise or other condiment of choice
Slather both halves of your baguette with mayo. Top with spinach leaves (stems removed). Place avocado slices on one half and the tomato slices on the other half. Smoosh together. Enjoy.
If you’ve read my column over the years, you’ve probably noticed that particularly when it’s hot, I will do anything to avoid turning on the oven or stovetop in the summer. ANYTHING. And I’m betting to guess you all feel the same way.
This includes in the morning, by the way. Which can complicate things.
But lately we’ve been using a recipe that has really made it much easier to keep our cool for breakfast: overnight oats.
There are several versions of this on the Web, but the recipe we make is one that’s customizable and not very sweet to start off with, so it’s easy to adjust to three very different flavor profiles (the hubby's, the kiddo's and mine). Which means it’s the perfect way to make a breakfast everyone can enjoy.
And it’s perfect for people who can’t eat at home. I layered mine with blueberries and strawberries and added just a touch of maple syrup before twisting the lid on my mason jar and running out the door. At home, the boys will add brown sugar and bananas or raisins to theirs and enjoy it in a normal (cool) bowl.
Take that, summer!
2 cups rolled oats
3 cups nondairy milk (we used vanilla flax)
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 large, ripe bananas, well-mashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a glass bowl with a lid, whisk together all ingredients. Cover with lid and put in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, give it a stir to make sure it’s combined. Serve as desired. Suggested serving: with fruit and maple syrup. Serves 6.
As you may have judged from my last post, I’m sort of obsessed with curry at the moment. Or for the entire seasons of fall, winter and spring. And it doesn’t seem to matter what type — Indian, Thai, a hybrid — I want it.
Luckily, for my rut-loving tendencies, there are all the above types of curry to spice things up, lest my husband and kiddo want to chuck me and all of our curry powder out of the house in a coup.
That hasn’t happened yet, though. So, if you’ll allow me, one last curry recipe before I hope it gets so warm, my stovetop goes on hiatus.
This curry recipe is also a great use for those final overwintered sweet potatoes before we get to the long wait for fresh local ones in the fall. If you don’t have sweet potatoes or want to make this dish a bit more “summery,” replace the sweet potato with a couple of peeled and chopped carrots.
This recipe also happens to have a similar flavor to restaurant-bought coconut-based curries, but is super simple to make. In fact, the most difficult part is waiting for the water to boil for the quinoa. My family’s single caveat with this recipe is that it isn’t very spicy, but it’s sweet, thus, my hubby likes to add Sriracha to his bowl.
Easy Coconut Curry
For the sauce:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons curry powder
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamari, or soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
To complete the dish:
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 pound assorted vegetables, chopped (we used frozen broccoli)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
To get started, combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, allowing the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes while you work on the curry sauce.
In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a 3-quart saute pan over medium heat, and saute the onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the coconut milk, curry powder, tamari, maple syrup and salt and whisk well to combine. (Since curry powders can vary by brand, start with a smaller amount and add more to suit your tastes.)
Adjust any other flavors as needed, then bring the sauce to a simmer and add in the chopped sweet potatoes. Cover the pan, and allow the sweet potatoes to steam in the sauce for 5 minutes. Finally, add the rest of the vegetables, toss in the sauce to coat, then cover and allow to steam until fork-tender.
Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, then serve with a generous portion of the vegetables and curry sauce. Serves two to four.
— Recipe from www.detoxinista.com
All winter long, it seems, I made curry. Thai curry, to be exact. I wrote about a few of them in this space. They were hearty and often served over sweet potatoes for extra nutrition, because I’m a little weird like that.
And I may be one of the luckiest foodies on the planet, because I was just gifted a perfect Indian curry recipe for summer.
One of my friends, Paffi, and I met for lunch the other day, and she brought with her a shopping bag. I was kind of oblivious, and just figured she’d gone on a grocery trip before lunch and didn’t want to leave whatever she’d bought in a hot car while we ate.
Turns out, the bag was for me.
Inside was a recipe for chickpea curry we’d talked about quite awhile ago, and ALL the ingredients I needed to make it.
Have I mentioned I have awesome friends?
Well, I do. And I had to make Paffi’s chickpea curry ASAP. We made it Sunday night, and not only was it super fast (the rice took longer to cook than the curry itself), it was also light and fresh and perfect for summer.
The curry features fresh Roma tomatoes and onion — two things we’ll have in season at the same time shortly — plus curry powder, and that was pretty much it. A little oil, a little cumin, and a whole lot of fresh, light flavor. This is not your winter curry. And the chickpeas make it super hearty.
Honestly, I can’t wait until the tomatoes and onions both are either from my garden, my CSA share, or the Lawrence Farmers’ Market.
1 medium onion, diced
5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup water (as needed)
Vegetable oil to saute (we used coconut oil)
1 teaspoon Deep curry powder (can be found at Indian food stores)
Cayenne powder to taste (optional)
¼ teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions. Sprinkle salt to sweat the onions. Saute until translucent.
Add chickpeas and stir to incorporate into onions. Add curry powder and, if using, add cayenne and cumin. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in tomatoes and then add enough water to wet the bottom of the pan and scrape any caramelization.
Continue to cook and stir until the curry comes to a boil. Cover the pan. Lower heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add salt to taste and serve over rice or eat with naan. Serves 4.
Sometime between last spring and this spring, my kiddo totally forgot that he loves asparagus. Last year, he’d eat the green or purple stalks, no questions asked. But this year?
No, no, no, no, get that away from me, no.
That’s a direct quote.
I’m sure anyone with kids/grandkids/imagines their life with kids reading this understands the fickle nature of a child’s taste buds — and the amnesia that goes along with it.
Once upon a time, my son ate all sorts of things that are utterly “Gross, mom, jeez!” He’d eat vegetable korma. Pad Thai. Even something as difficult to love as soup.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
Today, he’ll try new things, but only within reason. Example: He’ll try papaya because it looks like cantaloupe or mango. Or those chia seed doughnuts I made, specifically because they look like doughnuts.
But foods he’s tried before that we swear up and down that he likes? Not unless it looks promising.
And, asparagus, my friends, doesn’t look promising. Too green, too plant-like (despite the fact that this kid will eat baby spinach leaves plain), too unfamiliar.
So, how do we get him to eat it?
Bribed the heck out of him.
Basically, though he’s 5, our kid doesn’t necessarily always have the same dinner we have. We’re still transitioning him into eating what we eat, no ifs, ands or buts. But I’m still too concerned about him not eating enough, that I’m not strict about this (maybe we’re training me and not him, then?).
Thus, sometimes he has exactly what we have but most of the time, he has our sides plus something else. Case in point: tonight we’re having fajitas with salad on the side. He’ll have salad, avocado, raw red peppers saved from the fajita pan and a quesadilla.
But we want to eventually get him to eat exactly what we eat for dinner. I’m not making him his very own specialized dinner until he’s 18. Plus, I want him to eat and enjoy foods that aren’t your everyday picks, like seasonal, delicious asparagus.
So we’ll do what I’m sure many parents will do. We say something along the lines of, “If you eat two pieces of asparagus, you can watch a cartoon after dinner. No asparagus, no cartoon.”
Usually, that does the trick. Sometimes, as is the case with soup for some reason (even potato chowder, aka “french fry soup”), he’ll just say, “I didn’t want to watch a cartoon.” Yeah, right, kid.
When I was his age, I distinctly remember having to eat the dinner my parents were eating, no substitutions. Therefore, I wonder if I’m being soft. Should I stop tailoring his meals? Should I wait until he starts kindergarten in the fall? Or should I just roll with it, and be happy that he eats really healthy even if he’s not eating exactly what we’re eating?
I don’t have the answer. I don’t know if I’ll ever know exactly what’s right. But I do know that trying to persuade him to eat food that's good for him can never be bad. Even if it comes with a side of bribery.
Now, for the real reason you’re here. An asparagus recipe we’re loving at the moment (even if the kiddo is still suspicious):
Asparagus with Lemon and Olives
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Chop the ends off the asparagus and rinse under water. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the melted butter or coconut oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper to taste. Roast for approximately 10-15 minutes, less time for thin asparagus, more time for thick asparagus.
While the asparagus is roasting, use a microplane grater to remove the zest from the lemon, and set the zest aside.
When the asparagus is bright green and fork tender, remove it from the oven, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with the lemon zest and halved olives.
— Recipe from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo