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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian option’

(adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. peeled gold or russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-in slices

1 tsp. salt, divided
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 c. flour
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
1/2 c. grated Asiago
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 c. chopped chives (i used green onions on xmas)
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (i didn’t use this on xmas, but it’s AMAZING with it in)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
1)  Place potatoes in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 min or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with ¼ tsp salt; set side and keep warm.
2)  Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 2 min or until tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle flour over onions and garlic. Combine broth and milk in measuring cup; gradually add ½ cup of mixture into saucepan, stirring with whisk until well blended. Add remaining liquid, stirring constantly. Cook on medium 9 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; stir in ¾ tsp salt, cheeses, chives, pepper, and bacon.
3)  Arrange half of potatoes in bottom of 8×8 pan. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes. Top with remaining potatoes, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan. Bake for 35 minutes.

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So I’ve talked about how my husband is not a huge fan of vegetables. For the most part, he is a good sport about eating them, even if they aren’t as mushy as he’d prefer. I mostly think he does this to spare the heartache of listening to me give him a lecture on the nutritional benefits of veggies. However, as much as he loves me, there are certain vegetables he absolutely positively will not touch,  no matter how mushy they are or how much cheese I put on them.  Cauliflower is one of these.  This past Christmas, a friend gave me a cookbook written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld. It’s called Deceptively Delicious.  The main trick she does is steam and puree certain veggies and then use the puree to sneak into dishes:  like pureed beets into pancakes, pureed sweet potatoes or butternut squash into spaghetti sauce, or cauliflower into soup.  Last week I received a cauliflower head in my CSA box.  Not wanting it to go to waste (and not wanting to eat the whole thing myself), I decided to copy Mrs. Seinfeld’s cauliflower trick.  So in this soup you get double the benefits.  Only after hubby ate a couple of bite of the soup did I tell him the secret ingredient; he said he couldn’t even taste it, and that he loved, loved, loved the soup. Success!

 

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloved, minced or pressed
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
4 red potatoes, diced
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
broccoli rabe (optional; I had it in my CSA box, so I threw it in here to get rid of it)
1 cauliflower floret, stems removed, and chopped
3 T.  olive oil (or butter)
3 T. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
salt
pepper
tabasco sauce (or paprika)

Instructions:

1)  In a stockpot over medium heat, “caramelize” your onions for about 10 minutes.  Add garlic; cook another 5 minutes.

2)  Pour in broth; bring to a boil.  Add potatoes to pot; boil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

3)  Add broccoli and cauliflower; return to a boil.  Turn down to medium heat; steam 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Turn down to a low simmer. 

4)  Using a slotted spoon, scoop broccoli and cauliflower into a blender or food processor.  (I left a few little chunks of broccoli in the soup cuz I like it a bit chunky.)  And it’s ok if you get little pieces of onions and potatoes in the processor.  However, if you would like for your entire soup to be creamy, place all the soup into the fodd processor or blender.  (You can even use an immersion blender, if that strikes your fancy.)  Process until smooth.

          a)  if you processed only the broccoli and cauliflower, leave the puree in the blender until after the next step (step 5)

          b)  if you processed the whole soup, you can return it to the stockpot and leave it, covered, on a low simmer.

5)  In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add in flour; stir quickly with a gravy whisk (or regular whisk) to combine.

6)  Add milk to flour mixture; whisk until lumps dissolve.  Pour in pureed broccoli and cauliflower to milk mixture; stir to combine.  Pour into stockpot with rest of soup.  Add extra milk if you desire it to be thinner.  Heat through, then remove from heat.  Stir in cheese until melted.

7)  Season to taste using the salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce (or paprika).

Yields 4-5 one-cup servings.

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(adapted from Cooking Light)

the original recipe called for asparagus and peas. i didn’t have either on hand (hubby doesn’t like asparagus anyways); instead i used broccoli and green beans, as that is what i had from the farmers market. so if you do like and/or have asparagus and peas, use those instead. or, if you really like veggies, add all four! (whoa! gettin’ kinda crazy over here with all these veggies!). other veggies could very easily be substituted or added in. i decided to start with the basic this time.

ingredients:

8 oz. rotini, penne, fettucine, or linguine (i had tri-colored rotini on hand)

1 broccoli crown, chopped into bit-size pieces

½ – 1 lb. fresh green beans, diced (hubby doesn’t care too much for green beans so i cut them really small. but you could leave them whole or just cut in half)

olive oil

1 c. chicken or vegetable stock

1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

1 T. butter

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

½ c. half and half

juice of 1 lemon

½ c. shredded parmesan or asiago cheese

salt

freshly ground pepper

a dash or two of cayenne powder

instructions:

1)  cook pasta according to instructions. drain; set aside.

2)  in skillet, saute veggies in olive oil until desired cruchiness (or mushiness, as the case may be. if you prefer it on the mushy side, add some broth to steam them a bit). place into separate bowl and set aside.

3)  whisk together broth and cornstarch; set aside.

4)  add butter to skillet over medium/medium-high heat.  add garlic; saute until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. add broth mixture. bring to a boil; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. add cream and lemon juice. stir with whisk to combine; remove from heat.

5)  add cheese and stir until melted. stir in veggie mixture. add pasta and toss to combine. serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top.

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my mother-in-law makes this AMAZING tortellini soup. (my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.) i was craving it one night so decided to try my best at recreating it. the bad part — i forgot to write the recipe down! i thought that i used another soup recipe as a skeleton, but now that i look at it, it doesn’t seem at all similar to what i made. so i’ll have to go off of my taste bud memory and the picture to do the best i can. here’s my best shot:

 

ingredients:

olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

4 c. chicken/turkey broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegetarian option)

1 c. diced tomatoes (maybe about 2 large tomatoes–add more to your liking)

spinach, fresh leaves or frozen

swiss chard (or double the spinach if you don’t have this/don’t want to buy it)

salt

pepper

cayenne powder

paprika

parsley (optional)

cheese ravioli or tortellini/tortolloni

shredded cooked chicken or turkey (optional)

 

instructions:

1)  in dutch oven pot set over med-high heat, saute onions until lightly golden brown. add garlic; saute about 1-2 minutes longer.

2)  add next 9 ingredients (broth through parsley — if using frozen spinach, don’t add until step 3). bring to a boil; simmer for 20-30 minutes.

3) add ravioli/tortellini ( and frozen spinach, if that’s what you’re using, and optional chicken). cook for whatever length of time is on the pasta box.

 

if you like your food spicy, try adding a serrano pepper or two.

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(adapted from Cooking Light)

i know. everyone claims that they have the recipe for the best mac and cheese ever. and here i am claiming just the same. but believe me, this is goooood. if not for his loving and caring wife, my husband would eat stouffers mac and cheese every day for every meal: believe me, he is pretty high maintenance when it comes to mac and cheese. after experimenting a few different times, he finally gave me permission to call it quits at this recipe.  i have made these for potlucks and have always received rave reviews. (hopefully they weren’t just being nice!) but my husband has an amazingly great palette, so if he likes it, i figure it must be good.

also, don’t shy away from the mac because it’s a kid food. this is america, after all. just embrace the mac.

 

ingredients:

2 c. uncooked elbow noodles (actually, I prefer to use medium shells or rotini for the extra crevices that trap the cheese sauce. i also use whole wheat pasta, just to make myself feel better about consuming all that cheese.)

4 T. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. milk (i’ve made these using 1% and using non-fat, and they both turned out the same)

1/4 c. cream cheese or neufchatel, softened

2 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

1 1/4 c. shredded cheese (i use a mixture of somewhere around 1 c. extra sharp cheddar and 1/4 c. parmesan.)

 

instructions:

1)  cook pasta according to directions on box. (continue with following directions while past is cooking.) drain and return to pot.

2) while pasta cooks:  place flour, salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan over medium heat. add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended.

3)  drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to boil over medium-high heat while continuing to stir constantly with whisk. once starts to boil, immediately reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, or until thick and cream cheese is melted.

4)  stir in mustard and worcestershire sauce; simmer for 1 minutes or so. remove from heat.

5) add cheeses, stirring until melted. if it’s too thick, add more milk to thin down, but only a few splashes at a time to avoid putting too much in. as it cools, though, it will thicken up a bit.

5) add to cooked noodles in pot. stir well to combine.

 

this yields a really creamy pasta, so if you don’t like more sauce than pasta, feel free to add another cup of noodles.

variations:

*try experimenting with adding different kinds of cheeses in, like brie or pepperjack. you could probably even substitute gorgonzola and other white cheeses for the cheddar for a completely different dish!

*for another completely different dish, use cubed potatoes instead of noodles!

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split pea soup

 

i grew up on this soup. in fact, it is the one soup (other than chicken noodle soup on sick days) from my childhood that i remember eating — it was THAT good. i made it for the first time the other night and it was a big hit! after the first bite, i was asked for the recipe. and we all know that i don’t at all mind sharing.

ingredients:
8 c. water
2 c. dried green split peas, rinsed
1 c. ham, chopped**
½ c. chopped onion
½ c. finely diced carrots
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. marjoram (i have a thyme plant in my backyard, so that’s what i used instead)
1 bay leaf
approx. 2 T. honey (this is my addition. i used to love the taste of honey on my cornbread then dipped in the soup. now that i can make the soup myself, i decided to put the honey in the soup and leave the cornbread plain. it’s less messy that way….not that i have anything against messy 😉 )

instructions:
1)  in a dutch oven pot, add water and dried peas. simmer for 1 hour.
2)  add remaining ingredients. simmer for another 30-45 minutes. if soup is thicker than you desire, add some more water in (up to 2 cups, if needed).

**the ham can be eliminated for a vegetarian/healthier/cheaper option; in fact, i made it this time without the ham because i rarely keep ham on hand

and that’s it! easy as cake. wait, is that cake from a box or cake from scratch? either way, i think it’s actually EASIER than cake. 🙂  serve with cornbread.

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cornbread is another one of my favorite things. rather, make that cornmeal. i love adding cornmeal to recipes:  pancakes, biscuits, dumplings, bread, biscotti even. it’s one of those ingredients that i have fun experimenting with.

cornbread is also one of those foods that everyone claims their mother makes the best of — even if it’s the box kind. and i am no exception: my sister and i will both swear that our mother’s cornbread is the best. one of my reasons for liking my mom’s cornbread is that it is not sweet. now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that i don’t like sweet things because i do. lord knows i have a huge sweet tooth. but for me there is such thing as too sweet, and there are certain foods that i would prefer to NOT be on the sweet side. cornbread is one of them.

i was stupid enough to, a couple of months ago, try out someone else’s cornbread recipe (her mother’s recipe that she, like me, claimed was the best). and it just did not do it for me. so i learned my lesson–forgive me, mom, i will never again venture outside of your cornbread recipe, for i have learned from experience that it is truly THE BEST.

now, if you are one of those who already has a recipe that you swear is THE BEST, please don’t make my mistake and venture outside of your recipe…because chances are, yours is and will always be “the best” to your tastebuds. but if you are someone who does not yet have a cornbread recipe to your liking, and you are ok with it not tasting Marie Callender sweet–AND you want something that’s not difficult to make–then take my word, this is THE BEST.  hubby grew up on the box kind, and definitely likes his food on the sweet side, and he loves this cornbread. enough said. 🙂

the original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but i have lately been using half all-purpose and half wheat. if you don’t like wheat flour (or don’t have it on hand), then by all means double the all-purpose amount. it is what the original calls for, after all.

ingredients:
1 c. cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
3 T. white sugar (sometimes i substitute 1 T. brown sugar; i find that’s sweet enough)
1 T. canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk (i use fat free)

instructions:
preheat oven to 425°F.

1) in large bowl, sift together cornmeal, flours, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
2) in a small bowl, whisk together oil, eggs and milk.
3) add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until JUST combined. (don’t overmix!)
4) pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes.

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