Monday, October 29, 2012

Butternut Squash Rice Bowl

I was going to wait to post this, but I just couldn't wait another day.

This dish is a new favorite.  As in, if I didn't have so many new dishes I wanted to try, I would be making this once a week.  It was really that fabulous.  And I'm not talking just the flavor, either.  This dish somehow gives me the same comfort level as homemade mac 'n' cheese (which, if you're been around the blog a while, you know how much I love -- and miss -- homemade mac 'n' cheese!).  It's rich and creamy, and totally satisfying.

I was a little nervous with the butternut squash since they're typically not very fun to prepare, but it wasn't that bad.  I peeled my squash, cubed it, and roasted it.  But I could have just as easily cut it in half, roasted it face-down, and scooped the insides out.  Either way, I do suggest doing this step ahead of time if you're looking for a quick dinner.  I had my rice and squash already prepared and this came together in about 15 minutes.

I got the recipe here, and pretty much just made it completely plant-based, and also subbed in my faux coconut milk to cut down on the fat content.  Please don't let this just sit in your "I want to make this" pile.  Make it tonight.  Or tomorrow night, even, if you don't have the squash on hand.  But make it.  You won't regret it!

Oh, did I mention both my little boys "mmmmm"'d through all of dinner?  Yeah.  They did.

Butternut Squash Rice Bowl
Serves 4 big bowls
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2-3 cups cooked butternut squash -- acorn squash and canned pumpkin also work really well. 
  • 2 cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained OR great northern
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1 t coconut extract
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 t powdered ginger
  • 1 t dry cilantro (or oregano)
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 t lime juice (opt)
-- Saute onion in a large skillet for 5-10 minutes.
-- Add in all liquids and spices. Let heat and almost simmer.
-- Add in the butternut squash and mash with a potato masher until the mixture is thick and creamy.  Heat through.
-- Add in the rice and beans and stir until combined.  Add lime juice if using.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

Got the recipe over here at Milo & Me, a great new site I stumbled upon with some really fabulous looking recipes.  I can't wait to try more of them, if they're all as amazing as this soup was, I'm in for a major treat!  (Also, her pictures of the soup are superb!  I'm actually embarrassed to even have this picture up -- but this picture was taken while my wonderful Nikon was still in the shop and so I had to use just my little point and shoot....and there's only so much a point and shoot can do.)

Served this with the Pumpkin Apple Harvest Rice - such a great combo.

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup
Serves 6-8
  • 1 large head of cauliflower 
  • olive oil
  • 2 t Garam Masala (opt, but highly recommended)
  • 4 c (3 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 in. cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper (optional if you want a little kick)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
-- Cut cauliflower up in smaller pieces and place on a large baking sheet (lined with foil for easy clean up).  Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with Garam Masala if using (cumin would work well, too).  Roast for 30 minutes at 400.
-- In a large pot or dutch oven, saute the onion and garlic.  Add in the sweet potatoes and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
-- Add in the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and then simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
-- Add in the cauliflower, and carefully puree until smooth (in a blender or with a hand blender)
-- Season to taste and enjoy!

You could serve this over brown rice as the original recipe suggests, OR, you could fill your bowl with kale before you ladle the soup in.  You should always Eat More Kale.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meal Idea

This is more of just a meal idea than a recipe.  An encouragement to you all that you don't have to use a recipe for everything you do.

For this "dinner", it was just the boys, my grandmother who was visiting, and me.  I wasn't in the mood to make what I had planned, so I just rummaged through the fridge and came out with a few ingredients.  Add some wine, salt, and herbs de provence, and we were set.  This would have been fabulous over rice, but we were content as is.  We had some hearty bread on the side and some left over soup.  It was just what I needed and I had no food go to waste!

Obviously, feel free to use what ever you have on hand.  This is just to give you all an idea more than anything.

Simple Saute Meal
Serves 2-3
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 1/5 c carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 pkg mushrooms, cut/chopped
  • olive oil for the saute
  • 1 T dry sherry or white wine
  • 1-2 t herbs de provence
  • brown rice (optional, but ideal for a meal)
-- Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add the veggies and saute until all soft. About 15 minutes.
-- Add the wine and herbs and continue to saute another 2-3 minutes.  Salt to taste.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Red Lentil Coconut Soup

First, can I say that I love having my camera back?!  After 2 months of not having it, it feels so nice to have.  Do note, though, that some of the meals over the next 2 weeks will still be taken with the little point and shoot.  I'm a little backed up on posting, so you'll just have to bear with the poor pictures a little longer.

But not today.

We loved this soup.  I got the recipe here, but tweaked it to fit us.  Feel free to use the original if you'd rather use the true coconut milk.  I like to use the faux coconut milk because it let me enjoy the creamy-ness and the coconut taste without all the extra fat and calories that the coconut milk (even the lite version) offers.

This was more subdued than I anticipated with all the flavors in there, but I loved it and everyone raved.  Always a good sign.  If you did want more "oomph" I would just up the spices and garlic.

The other really nice thing about this soup is that you can stretch it by adding a little brown rice.  I made 3 cups of brown rice and that allowed all of us to enjoy it twice!

Red Lentil Coconut Soup
Serves 4-6
  •  2 cups red lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger, or 1 t powder
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/3 c tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1 1/2 t coconut extract
  • 4 c water
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 c cooked brown rice (opt)
-- Saute the onion and the bell pepper in a large pot or dutch oven for about 10 minutes, until soft
-- Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste.  Stir for 2-3 minutes.
-- Add the liquids, lentils, and chickpeas.
-- Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.  Until the lentils are soft.  Add the lime juice and stir.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simple Kale

I feel like kale is the new fad in food.  All over the Internet I see people trying it.  It's being sneaked into dishes and salads and the nutritional benefits are claimed to be numerous.

I admit, I've succumbed to the "fad" myself.  We have it about once a week in some form.

The form we don't have it is: raw.  We just haven't been able to do it.  It's bitter and tough and one day maybe...maybe...we'll do it raw, but not now.

So I have these recipes that call for certain amounts of this amazing green leaf, which usually strands me with half a bag or bunch left over to figure out how to use so it doesn't spoil.

What to do?  Saute it, of course!

And here's a simple way to do it.  It takes about 5 minutes total and it's delicious.  Play around with the vinegar, spices and sweetener to your own liking.  This is just what we like.

Simple Kale
Serves 2-4
  • 4 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1/2 t crushed thyme
  • 1 t sugar or honey
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • lemon zest to taste (optional)
-- Place all kale in a large skillet with a little olive oil.  Cover and let the steam work its magic for a few minutes.  Then stir it as it starts to turn bright green and begins to wilt a little.
-- Add the spices, sweetener, and vinegar and stir to combine, letting the kale continue to cook to desired wilted-ness.  We like ours pretty wilted, but that's all personal preference. 
-- Sprinkle some lemon zest on top if you want.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Granola Bars

It's pumpkin season, I know.  But pumpkin granola bars sounds amazing no matter the season, right?

These were chewy and delicious.  I subbed the chocolate chips and nuts for more chewy goodness in the form of raisins and dates.  I think white chocolate chips would have been amazing, but I didn't have any on hand.

Due to the pumpkin, it was hard to tell when these reached "golden brown" status.  I baked them for 40 minutes and they were great.  The edges, by that point, had crisped up, and the inside pieces didn't fall apart.

These would be great for a morning treat or an afternoon snack.  Got the idea for this recipe here.

 Pumpkin Granola Bars
  • 3 c old fashioned oats
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c applesauce 
  •  1/4 cup honey
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 1/2 c chopped dates
--  Combine the oats, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a bowl
-- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla.  Add in those oats and coat well.
-- Fold in your "extras" (and feel free to play around here!) and stir
-- Press firmly into a foiled/oiled lined 8x11 or 9x9 baking dish
-- Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Apple Harvest Rice

 Doesn't this look delicious?!  We were surprised at how well these slightly random ingredients meshed together.

I got the idea for the recipe here, but tweaked it a little.  I served this as a side dish, but I added a can of chickpeas to the leftovers for a hearty lunch option for Scot.  And I omitted the nuts.  For one, I'm highly allergic to walnuts, and two, they just add extra expense and fat calories to a dish.

This was incredibly easy to throw together.  Once the rice was done, it took about 5 minutes total.  TOTAL.

Scot thought there were a few too many onions, but I didn't.  So just be aware in case you have anti-onion-eaters at your table.

Pumpkin Apple Harvest Rice
Serves 6 sides, 4 main (with chickpeas)
  • 1 3/4 c cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup 100% pure solid pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1-3 T brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 small apple, skins on, chopped small 
  • 1 small (or less) red onion, minced 
  • 1/2 c raisins 
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (optional for main dish)
--   In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, vinegar, sugar and spices.  Warm in microwave for a minute.
--  Add in the rice and stir to coat well.
--  Fold in the onion, apple, and raisins.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Banana Pumpkin Smoothie

Oh, my boys are loving this whole pumpkin week thing!

Last night, Scot was on-call, and so it was our standard "'cakes and shakes" dinner.  Translation: pancakes and smoothies.   And last night, I treated us to a most amazing banana pumpkin "shake".  I got the idea for it over here.

It wasn't overly sweet, and when I thought about what was in it, I was quite pleased that my boys sucked a cup-full down!  You could barely taste the banana, and the pumpkin was muted, yet there.  It was lovely.

Banana Pumpkin Smoothie
makes 2 adult portions
  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1 c solid 100% pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1 c oats
  • 1 c almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 T brown sugar (or other sweetener)
  • cinnamon for sprinkling on top (opt)
-- Combine all in high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy (to be on the safe side, take the bananas out of the freezer when you sit down to dinner so they can thaw just a little while you eat.  They should be firm and very cold, but not solid like ice -- unless you have a VitaMix!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pantry Basics

Some of the recipes have these ingredients in them.  It'll make a recipe look a lot less intimidating if you have these staples on your shelves along with the regular items!  

Flax seed. Want to make a flax seed egg, go here. You can buy this at your local market - Bob's Red Mill has it in a bag in whole form and in "meal" form which is quite nice to throw into oatmeal/breads/smoothies

What is nutritional yeast?  Find out with a simple click.  I buy this at Whole Foods in the bulk section

Also, learn more about wheat germ and how amazing it is and how easy it is to add to things.  I get this at the local market, again, using Bob's Red Mill bag.  This has to be refrigerated after opening.

good spice rack could look like this.  Mine looks a lot like it and I rarely need to buy a new spice for a recipe.

Quinoa is amazing!  You should get some if you don't have any.  Seriously.  And always make extra!  I get this, in bulk, at Whole Foods or in BIG bags at Costco.

Having a well stocked pantry is perhaps a cooks’ best tool. If your pantry has the basics, you can not only be capable of making a myriad of dishes with no planning, but you will also be able to substitute items you have for items you need but don’t have.

This list is very basic, and please keep in mind that everyone’s pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator are all going to look different, but if you have the majority of these items, you will be on-track to easily being able to create the meals on this blog as well as other meals you feel like whipping up.

· Bread
· Bread crumbs
· Cornmeal
· Cornstarch
· Crackers
· Flour, white and whole wheat
· Oats
· Rice/Quinoa
· Spaghetti

· Baking powder
· Baking soda
· Brown sugar
· Butter
· Cocoa powder
· Eggs
· Honey or Agave
· Milk
· Oil: Canola and Olive
· White sugar
· Yeast, active dry

· Allspice
· Basil
· Chili powder
· Cinnamon
· Cloves, ground and whole
· Cumin
· Dill
· Ginger
· Mustard (ground)
· Nutmeg
· Oregano
· Paprika
· Pepper
· Rosemary
· Salt
· Thyme

· BBQ Sauce
· Broth/Stock
· Hot sauce
· Ketchup
   Lemon and lime juice
· Mayo
· Mustard
· Soy Sauce
· Tomato Pasta
· Tomato Sauce
· Vinegar: balsalmic, cider and red wine
· White Wine

· Canned Beans
· Canned Tomatoes
· Canned Fruit
· Coffee
· Diced green chiles
· Extracts, almond, vanilla, and coconut
· Garlic
· Jams
· Nuts
· Onions
· PB
· Popcorn w. brown bags
· Raisins
· Salsa
· Tea

Pumpkin Spiced Hummus

Today marks the beginning of "Pumpkin Week" here on Hearty Helpings.  A week of all things pumpkin.  I thought it fitting since I had half a dozen pumpkin recipes and we're right smack in the middle of fall.  And yet, I didn't want to bore you all and have the next 5 or 6 recipes be all pumpkin themed without you knowing it.

So if you hate pumpkin flavored dishes or treats, turn your eyes away for this week.  (But then come back, ya'll, ya hear?)

On the docket to be tried this week (and hopefully posted):
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (because it's a basic ingredient this time of year and you can make it at home!)
  • Pumpkin Spiced Hummus
  • Harvest Pumpkin Rice (a side dish OR an easily transformed main dish!)
  • Banana Pumpkin Smoothie
  • Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
  • Pumpkin Granola Bars
Aren't you excited?
So to get us stared.  Pumpkin Pie Spice mix.  It's so easy, I don't really know why people spend 3 and 4 dollars at the store when they most likely have everything in their cupboards already!

Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 2 t nutmeg
  • 1 ½ t ground allspice
  • 1 ½ t ground cloves  
-- Mix it all together and there you have it.  Your very own, inexpensive, fabulous Pumpkin Pie spice!

And now that you have that, we can make the Pumpkin Spiced Hummus (which I got over here)

 This was a great alternative to my regular hummus.  It was fall-ish without being overly pumpkin-y.  We ate it with pretzels as a snack, and with graham crackers as a dessert (because it made the hummus transform into a dessert, mimicking a pumpkin pie!)

Pumpkin Spiced Hummus
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained, or any white beans
  • 1 cup solid 100% pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1/4 c tahini (can omit and replace with more pumpkin!)
  • 3 TBLS maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Olive oil if needed to thin out.  up to 1 TBLS

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lemony Chickpea Skillet Meal

This meal got mixed reviews in our house, but I still thought I'd post it. Scot loved it and with a change, I will love it, too.

 All in all, this is was quite easy.  It was filling and nutritious and the boys ate it up.  So of course, I loved it for those reasons.  But it also tasted great (when I didn't have it with a bite of tofu).

And there lies the issue.


Let me tell you first, I like tofu.  When you saute it right, which I did this time just like all the other times, or when it's pureed and disguised in with other things, I do really like it.  But I didn't like it with this dish.  Scot loved it in this dish.  He thought it complimented the zucchini and lemon flavors well.  I didn't agree, I thought the flavors clashed at best, or that the tofu was overpowering at worst.

So, if you like tofu, make this as it's written.  If you only sometimes like tofu, make some quinoa and serve this skillet meal over a pile of that amazing whole grain.

Got the recipe over here, doubled it, and tweaked it just a tad. 

Lemony Chickpea Skillet Meal
serves 4-6
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 sweet/red onion, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinse and drain
  • 2 medium zucchini, cubed (6 cups)
  • 4 loose cups kale, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1, 16oz box, extra firm tofu OR 2-3 cups cooked quinoa
-- If you're using the tofu, go ahead and cube it and pan fry it a little whichever way you like best.  Set aside. (I did a sweeter version with a little brown sugar to caramelize the outside, but if I do this with tofu again, I may do more of a soy sauce base)
-- In a large skillet, saute the onion and chickepeas 5-7 minutes until onions are soft and chickpeas are warmed through and the edges start to get a little crispy.  Set aside.
-- In the same large skillet, saute the zucchini with a little pepper and salt (if desired).  Saute until the zucchini is nice and soft, but not yet falling apart.
-- Add the chopped kale on in and saute it until it wilts. 3-5 minutes.
-- Add in chickpeas/onion, (tofu if using) and lemon zest/juice and warm through.
-- Serve over quinoa (if not using the tofu)