Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato Squares

Tomorrow is Easter.  Which means Spring is really finally here.  There are buds in my flower bed and the birds have been heard singing each and every morning for the last week and a half.

Spring brings with it lighter soups for those still-cold days in our house.  Gone are heavier soups and in their place are the more broth-based counterparts.  This soup was born out of this soup being on the menu and me having 2 lonely sweet potatoes just begging to be used somehow.  I was too lazy to make fries, so I thought I'd just add them to the soup.  The original soup got tweaked a bit in the process to compensate for the added vegetable, but we all agreed it was a nice change from the usual.  It's a bit sweeter and more muted.

I served the soup with a good green salad and these Stuffed Corn Muffins.  Oh my, delicious!

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato Squares
serves 6

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3  stalks celery, sliced 
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups skinned and cubed (1/2 in) sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1 t oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

--On medium heat, saute onions and celery in oil for 5 minutes in large sauce pan.  
--Add broth and bring to boil
--Add remaining ingredients
--Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stuffed Corn Muffins

Oh wow and oh my goodness.  I may never make regular plain ol' corn muffins again.  Ever. 

These little muffins were so tasty it was hard to only eat one.  We could have eaten more, but I was trying to save the other half of the batch for the next night's dinner!  In retrospect, I should have just made another batch.  Sigh.  Such is life, right?  Live and learn.  Well, I'll tell you what -- I lived and learned.

Make these often.

I found the recipe over here and tweaked it a little according to what I had on hand and our personal tastes. (Read: spice wimps)   They are stuffed with corn, onion, and spinach, and are delicious.  They are also incredibly healthy.  Packing no oil (except to saute) and being half whole wheat, half corn meal!  Amazing!

The next time you have soup, or chili, that needs a little help from their favorite cornbread to make the meal a real meal....turn to this recipe and enjoy!

Stuffed Corn Muffins
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups loosely packed chopped spinach (a packed 2 cups unchopped)
-- Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
-- In a smaller bowl (or a 2-cup measuring container) combine the milk and applesauce.
-- In a skillet, heat a little olive oil and saute the onion until transparent.  Add in the garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes.  Finally add in the spinach and saute 3-4 minutes until wilted.
-- Add the milk mixture tot he dry ingredients and mix until all wet.
-- Add in the sauted mixture and mix well.
-- Evenly distribute batter between 12 lightly greased muffin cups and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lentil & Tofu Tacos -- or sauce

This was another meal from our time away at my parent's house (and I have since made it again as a pasta sauce -- pictured).  It was a quick and easy weeknight dinner we all enjoyed.  The recipe I used was on a yellowed 3x5 index card, which is interesting since I don't remember growing up with the dish.  I almost wish we had, though!

I was a little leery of having tacos with both lentils and tofu, but amazingly, it worked.  Not too overpowering of either.  They complimented each other very nicely.  I still think I like our other lentil tacos better, but this is a little bit quicker, so it'll still end up on our table!

Top these tacos with what ever you wish: avocados, greens, cheese, salsa, green peppers, green onions, etc.

As a note, we used the leftovers to top some pasta for a quick lunch and it was so good, I have started using this as a sauce when, sometimes even adding taco toppings if I have them on hand.

Lentil & Tofu Tacos
serves 4-6
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed well + 1 cup water
  • 3/4 c chopped onion
  • 2 c tomato sauce 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 16 oz block firm tofu, drained, pressed, and crumbled
  • Tortillas
  • toppings of choice
-- Cook the lentils in the water like you would rice.
-- Once lentils are almost all done, saute onions in a medium saucepan or deep skillet.  Add the tomato sauce, lentils, and seasoning.  Simmer 10 minutes.
-- Add tofu and mix well.
-- Spoon into tortillas and top away! (Or spoon over a bed of pasta)

-- To make a REALLY quick weeknight meal, have your lentils already made.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chili Glazed Tofu & Ramen Soup

While I was on vacation, my mother let me play in her beautiful kitchen.  For me, there's nothing like some time, a fabulous kitchen, and a new recipe.  It was delightful to hear the boys have fun with my parents while I was having fun on my own.

This soup looked intriguing to me.  As a child, my mom would make us egg drop soup with ramen noodles as the base and there was always something about it I loved.  I haven't had a pack of ramen in my kitchen since college, so this was a little different for us.  The flavors were really nice and the tofu made the dish.  Next time I think I'll broil the tofu.  I don't know when I'll learn that broiling tofu is so much easier, faster, and  healthier than pan-frying it!

This would have been great with an Asian themed green, or even quinoa, salad.

Chili Glazed Tofu & Ramen Soup
serves 4-6

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 3/4 t powdered ginger
  • 4 T soy sauce, divided
  • 1 T Asian sweet chili sauce (Trader Joes has a great one!)
  • 1 16 oz pack extra firm tofu (drained, patted dry, and cut into 10-12 "slabs")
  • 2 packs ramen noodles,, or 12 oz fresh Asian noodles
  • 2 large carrots, skinned to the core (1 packed cup of the "shavings")
  • 2 cups packed chopped spinach
  • 1 c chopped scallions
-- Combine broth, 2 cups water, garlic, ginger, and 3 T soy sauce in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes.
-- Mix the remaining 1 T soy sauce with chili sauce and set aside.
-- Broil tofu slabs 3-4 minutes each side until they are nice and crispy on the outside.  Coat with chili/soy sauce.
-- Add the noodles, carrots, and scallions to the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  
-- Add the spinach and stir until wilted (3-4 minutes)
-- Top each bowl with 2 slabs of tofu and extra sauce if desired.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Squares [Vegan + Oil-free]

Don't be put off by the vegan and oil-free part of this title.  These squares are delicious! We made them as a snack, but you could eat them as a dessert (slather some cream cheese frosting on there if you'd like, or with an orange/powdered sugar glaze), or as a breakfast square (reduce the sugar!).  Also, if you're not in the habit of keeping flax-meal on hand, and you don't care about the vegan part of this, then just add 2 eggs to the wet ingredients.

I know these flavors are so last fall, but if you encounter a cold spell before spring really greets us with open arms, make these.  Everyone will be happy you did and your house will smell divine.

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Squares
18 squares
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2 T flax-meal
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 2 (rounded) cups oats (i used a mixture of old fashioned and quick, i think either type is fine)
  • 1 cup raisins or craisins
-- Beat applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and milk together in a large bowl.
-- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, flax-meal, powder,salt, and spices.
-- Add dry to wet and mix until combined and all wet.
-- Add the oats and stir to combine.
-- Add the raisins and stir well.
-- Spread evenly into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and passes the toothpick test.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Tags

I went through all the recipes and tagged them with either/or "Vegan" or "Gluten Free".  I have notes on what I mean by those titles if you're interested at the top of the blog under "Terms and Tags".

So now, if you're looking specifically for a vegan dish, or a dish without sporting gluten, you can figure out what falls into that category a lot easier now!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Simple Corn and Bean Burritos: Revamped

When I first posted this dinner, I told you all we would make them a lot.  And well, while they haven't seen our table on a weekly basis, I would guess I pull the recipe card out about once a month.  This last time, I had some sweet potatoes to use up and an avocado, so I roasted the sweet potatoes and added the avocados on top.

Now, I'm afraid, the original recipe will seem a bit boring.

Since the revamp was so good, I thought I'd post it here.  I hope you enjoy the flavor combo this brings!

Simple Corn, Bean, and Sweet Potato Burritos

  • 6 cups 1/2-inch cubes sweet potatoes (skins kept on)
  • A little EVOO
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (1 can, rinsed/drained or 2 cups frozen, thawed)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 t minced garlic or 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 c salsa
  • 6 soft whole wheat tortillas (or corn)

    -- Roast the potatoes for 40 minutes at 350.  Stirring in the middle to make sure they cook evenly.
    -- After you stir them, saute corn, onion, and green pepper with a little EVOO until soft

    -- Add garlic and spices and stir for 1 minutes
    -- Add beans, rice, and salsa and heat through.
    -- Spoon 3/4 cup portions into tortillas, top with sweet potatoes and avocado, or top with cheese or sour cream or guac or more salsa...and enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gluten Free and Vegan?

I'm considering going through the recipes and tagging them more specifically if they are gluten-free and/or vegan. 

Any interest? If I do, would you rather "plant based" or "vegan" as a tag for those type meals?

I know the blog doesn't get many comments, but if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it either here or on the facebook page.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sweet Potato "Mac"

Originally, this dish was called "mac n cheese".  Seeing what a connoisseur I used to be of mac n cheese dishes, I cannot bring myself to put this in the same category with those other ooey-gooey wonderful cheesy creations.

BUT...for not having a lick of cheese in it, fake or otherwise, this is still nice and creamy and oh so comforting!

If you're not a huge fan of the nutritional yeast flavor, just omit it.  All this is, really, is super smooth seasoned sweet potatoes and white beans mixed with cooked pasta.  It's not rocket science.

I served this on an on-call night, and had steamed broccoli as a side with some apple sauce.  All our bases were covered and our tummies were happy.

Sweet Potato "Mac"
serves 4-6

  • 6 cups cooked short-pasta (one 14-16oz box)
  • 1 1/2 c packed mashed sweet potatoes (3-4 cups chopped raw)
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 2-4 TBLS nutritional yeast, depending on taste
  • 3/4 t each: thyme & oregano
  • 3/4 t mustard (optional)
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 2 t onion powder
  • 1 TBLS lemon juice or white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra broth or water to thin, if needed
-- Once you've mashed your potatoes, add the remaining ingredients into a food processor, or bowl and use an immersion blender to puree until it's all creamy.  Add more water or broth if needed.
-- Mix it with the pasta until coated nicely.  

Note: once I drained the pasta, I put it back in the pot and added the sauce to it and turned the heat on low to make sure it was heated evenly

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Orange Dressing

If you still don't like brussel sprouts after the other recipes on this blog, then I beg you to try them just one. more. time.  This is the best dressing ever for those cute little cabbage-cousins!

Since I didn't change a single thing with the recipe, I thought I'd just let Mama Pea tell you what to do!