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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

68 Days of Gourmet: Day 5

jeweledrice

I was tasked with bringing a starch side dish to a family dinner last weekend. Brandon was cooking a turkey breast on the Big Green Egg as our meat. I decided not to make anything potato based since Thanksgiving is coming up so soon. I found this rice recipe when I was researching recipes for 68 Days of Gourmet and thought it sounded different. Brandon isn’t the biggest fan of rice but I love it. He also isn’t the biggest fan of dried fruit but I love that too. I thought our family dinner was the perfect time to try this since I would have a larger audience who would appreciate my rice and dried fruit side dish!

The method for preparing this rice is really different. Read the recipe directions below and you’ll see what I mean. I was pretty nervous about the final product turning out but I trusted the recipe and it turned out exactly right. I was scared the crust would be a burned mess but it was perfectly golden. The butter drenched toasted almonds on top were the perfect finish.

This rice is a great side dish for richly spiced pork and chicken and complemented our turkey breast well too. The leftovers were great with the Spiced Chicken I made for dinner on Tuesday night. A note, this recipe makes a ton of rice so you may want to half it if you’re feeding a smaller crowd.

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2004)

Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup dried apricots (3 1/2 oz), quartered (I omitted these)
1/2 cup golden raisins (3 oz)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (2 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup slivered unsalted roasted almonds

Directions:

Rinse rice in several changes of cold water in a large bowl until water runs clear. Drain in a large sieve.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a 6-quart heavy pot. Add rice and boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes – starting from the time the rice starts to boil. Stir occasionally. Drain in sieve.

Mix together dried fruit in a bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a cleaned and dried pot. Stir in cardamom and pepper and combine. Alternate layers of rice and dried fruit over the butter mixture, beginning and ending with rice. Mound loosely, don’t pack it in. Make 5 or 6 holes in rice to bottom of pot with round handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap lid of pot in a kitchen towel, folding edges of towel up and over the lid (keeping towel away from burner). Cook rice over low heat, undisturbed, until tender and a crust forms on bottom, about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the rice is cooking. Remove from heat and let rice stand, tightly covered and undisturbed, at least 30 minutes.

While rice is resting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat and cook almonds, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon loose rice onto a platter, then break crust into 1-inch pieces and scatter over rice. Sprinkle with almonds.

Yield: 10-12 side dish servings

Notes:
*Rice can stand off heat up to 1 hour. Just keep covered and undisturbed
* If you’re short on time, you can skip letting the rice stand after cooking. Spoon loose rice onto a platter and then dip bottom of pot into a large bowl of cold water for 30 seconds to loosen crust.

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lasagnaveggierollfgts

I’m visiting my grandmother for a few days. When I arrived this afternoon she had planned Veggie Lasagna Rolls for dinner. My grandmother definitely shares my sentiment that not every meal has to include meat. I was really excited that she had chosen this dinner after indulging in lots of July 4th burgers and hot dogs yesterday.

She had prepped all of the ingredients so all I had to do was assemble everything. How nice is that? I would like a full-time sous chef please! These rolls are definitely much easier to prepare than traditional lasagna. You could do anything you are feeling with the filling. I think a traditional ricotta/Italian sausage combo would be excellent in these too. I personally loved the veggies and recommend you try these!

Veggie Lasagna Rolls
(Recipe adapted from Kroger My Recipes)

Ingredients:

7-8 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained (number needed will depend on your roll size and filling amount)
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
Cooking spray
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 11 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, Parmesan, egg white, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and saute red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add chopped spinach and stir until wilts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool.

Combine vegetables with ricotta. Spread the cheese mixture over noodles in a thin layer, working one at a time. Like so…

lasagnaveggierollexample

Roll up and place in prepared baking dish, seam side down. You should have anywhere from 6-8 rolls. Spoon marinara sauce over each roll and cover with foil. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese has melted.

Yield: 3-4 servings (if you’re piggy like me and eat 2 per serving!)

lasagnarollspan

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eggplantnapoleanpmarinara

I’m always looking for inspriation for new vegetarian dinners. I love eggplant and Brandon loves tomato, mozzerella and basil so I thought this creation would be a great compromise for us. I saw this recipe for Grilled Eggplant Napoleons on Lime in the Coconut. I wanted to put a little more of a “parmesan”-style twist on it and did mine in the oven since Brandon wasn’t around to man the grill.

All in all, I’m pleased with the way this turned out. I was happy to avoid breading the eggplant and even though I used a fair amount of fresh mozzerella I still felt like it was healthier than traditional eggplant paremsan. I would also be very interested to try the original recipe from Lime in the Coconut. It sounds delicious with the grilled eggplant and pesto!

Eggplant Napoleon Parmesan
(Recipe inspired by Lime in the Coconut)

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
1 tomato, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves
6 slices fresh mozzarella
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup marinara sauce

Directions:

Preheat broiler on high.

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place in a collander or on a wire rack to weep for about 15 minutes. Blot with a paper towel to wipe off salt and soak up excess water.

Place eggplant on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Broil for about 3-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Spoon marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place eggplant on top of marinara. Layer with tomato, basil and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.

Place back in oven to cook for an additional 10 minutes. You can turn the broiler back on the last couple minutes of cooking if you want to brown your cheese.

Remove from oven. Serve with pasta and additional marinara sauce, if desired.

Yield: 3 servings

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goatcheeseveggiepasta

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and it reminded me of an old favorite I hadn’t made in a while. One of my favorite easy pasta dishes is to saute vegetables and mix them with pasta and flavored Boursin cheese (usually garlic and herb). I love goat cheese so when I saw the recipe on SK I wanted to try my recipe with goat cheese instead of Boursin.

The beauty of this dish is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand or prefer. Tonight I was feeling zuchinni, broccoli and sun dried tomatoes. This is a great meat-free dish. I’m looking forward to the leftovers!

Goat Cheese Veggie Pasta
(Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1/2 box pasta (penne or spiral)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 zucchini
1 small head broccoli
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 -4 ounces goat cheese, depending on how cheesy you want to get
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

In the meantime, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add zucchini and broccoli and saute for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Remove from heat and stir in sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, goat cheese and pasta. Stir until cheese is melted and coats pasta. Add in some of the reserved pasta water if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry you are!)

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eggplantparm

I can count on one hand the number of times Brandon has requested eggplant for dinner…that would be zero. So imagine my shock when last week he said, “We should have eggplant parmesan for dinner sometime soon.” That was all the encouragement I needed. It was on the menu for dinner this week. I was extra lucky because I went to visit my parents last weekend in Atlanta and came home with great looking Japanese eggplant from the Delkalb Farmers Market.

Now, my greatest problem with eggplant paremesan is how unhealthy it is. The breading and eggplant soak up so much oil if you saute it. I decided to make it my mission to make a tasty baked eggplant parmesan. I think it turned out really well. The breading was crispy and the eggplant was cooked perfectly. Also, it didn’t take too long. I skipped the step of double baking (baking the prepared eggplant with the sauce and cheese). Instead I just added the cheese to the top of the eggplant the last few minutes it was baking and heated sauce on the stovetop and spooned it over the eggplant.

I served Brandon’s over pasta but had mine on its own along with a salad. Both serving methods were great!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

2-3 Japanese eggplants or 1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, whisked together
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs (I used a mixture of regular and panko)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces mozzerella cheese, sliced thinly
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

If you’re using Japanese eggplant, cut in half horizontally and then cut each half into 3-4 strips (about 1/4 inch thick). If you’re using traditional eggplant, slice into rounds (about 1/4 inch thick). Place sliced eggplant into a large colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes (eggplant will “weep” some of the water it is holding).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and placing a wire rack on top. Spray rack with cooking spray.

Heat marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Wipe salt off of eggplant. Line up three shallow dishes on workspace. Place flour in first dish. Season with salt and pepper. Place eggs and water in second dish. Place bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and shredded parmesan in third dish.

Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Arrange on prepared baking sheet with rack. Brush tops of each slice with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Eggplant should be tender and easy to pierce. Add cheese to top and continue to bake for about 5 more minutes. If needed, broil cheese for a minute or two to brown.

Remove from oven. Serve over pasta or on its own. Spoon marinara sauce over eggplant slices.

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pastavodka

Brandon is in the middle of law school finals and I haven’t been seeing much of him lately. He’s been studying around the clock. He had a final from 6-9 last night and I wanted to have a simple dinner waiting for him when he got home. I’m not going to lie that the inspiration for this dish was a great bottle of Toscano Rosso that I tried while I was wandering around Whole Foods after work yesterday.  I picked up a bottle and decided it would be a pasta night.

I had all the ingredients on hand for Pasta with Vodka Sauce and it was perfect with ciabatta served alongside. I love how easy this dish is to put together – the touch of red pepper and fresh basil definitely set it off. Try this out next time you are looking for a simple pasta dish.

Pasta with Vodka Sauce
(Recipe source mostly Bakin’ and Eggs with guidance from the Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup vodka
1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 15 0unce can of tomato sauce (pureed tomato)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
Basil, thinly sliced, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2-3/4 box of pasta (a little less than 1 pound) ziti or penne recommended
1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until it starts to get tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add vodka and let cook for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add butter and red pepper flakes. Let butter melt into onion mixture. Pour in tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Follow directions on pasta packaging for cooking. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water in case you need to thin your sauce.

Pour cream into tomato mixture and stir to combine. Add drained pasta and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish plates with Parmesan and basil.

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easyspanakopita

I had some great feta in the fridge and ever since I starred a few spanakopita recipes in my Google Reader I had been craving it. I went back to read the recipes I starred and realized there was no way I would have time to make them on a weekday. Working with the phylo dough was going to be extremely time intesive. Not something I want to tackle when I don’t get home until 7 p.m. and it’s all I can do to feed us by 8 or 8:30.

So off I went in search of “easy” spanakopita recipes. I checked one of my favorite blogs for Greek inspired food, Elly Says Opa!, and sure enough she had a Cheater Spanakopita recipe. The real time saver is that this recipe uses puff pastry instead of the phylo dough.

We loved these spanakopitas. While they weren’t quite the real deal, they definitely got the job done for a quick dinner. I served them with a big Greek salad and it made a nice vegetarian meal. This recipe makes a ton of spanakopitas but the leftovers were great for lunch. During dinner we also talked about how great these would be for an appetizer at a party.

Easy Spanakopita
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (one box), thawed
Olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
fresh dill, to taste (omitted, dill is my least favorite herb!)
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach (about 1 bag)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:

Remove puff pastry from freezer and follow directions on box for thawing. We let ours sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they begin to get tender and translucent. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. Let the spinach wilt down a bit (but not completely, you still want it to have a little life).

Roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner. Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl. Add in feta, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Beat one egg and add to mixture. Stir well.

Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Bring the 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle and press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 18 spanakopita triangles

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One of our favorite vegetarian meals is red coconut curry with tofu. When I saw this recipe on A Year in the Kitchen I thought it would be a fun version to try.

This recipe was originally titled “Spicy Thai Coconut Tofu Soup” but ours ended up being more noodle bowl than soup. It wasn’t very brothy (which was tasty anyway).

I made a few modifications to the original recipe so I’m going to post my version of the recipe. This definitely fits the quick and easy category and it’s very filling and tasty.

Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl with Tofu
(Recipe adapted from A Year in the Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 a cup)
3-4 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock to make this meal vegetarian)
1 15 oz can light coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced white or baby bello mushrooms
1 cup sliced snap peas
1/2 package thin rice noodles
1 tbsp hot red curry paste
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (optional, can sub soy sauce)
2 tsp honey
1 block extra firm tofu, diced
Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir frequently and watch it closely. Don’t let your garlic and red pepper burn.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk and carrots and mushrooms and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Add all the remaining ingredients and cook for another 10 minutes.
I served this in bowls with soy sauce and red chili sauce (like Sriracha) on the table so we could season to taste.

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butternutcurry

I love anything with red curry paste. I also love trying new meatless main dishes. If it weren’t for my meat-loving husband, it’s possible I would be a vegetarian. I try to plan a meat-free dinner at least once a week and I don’t usually eat meat with breakfast or lunch.

I came across this recipe in Gourmet a couple months ago. I have really been getting a lot of inspiration from Gourmet lately. I’ve found that they have a lot of recipes that are possible on a week night and don’t call for too many special/expensive ingredients.

I was really intrigued by this combination – spicy curry and sweet winter squash. I was really excited to try it. While this isn’t something that I would add to the regular rotation, I will definitely be making this one again.

Butternut Squash Curry
(Adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir), divided (I used light coconut milk and it turned out fine)
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/3 cup water
5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups packed)
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup salted roasted cashews, chopped
Cooked jasmine or brown rice
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté squash with cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk from top of can and cook, stirring, until fat starts to separate and look glossy, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add squash, water, remaining coconut milk and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook, covered, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with cashews.

Serve over jasmine or brown rice and garnish with lime slices.

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