07 November 2010

Sausage & Veggie Bake

While most of the eating at our house is vegetarian, once a month, we indulge in a "meat weekend." This weekend, we made one of my favorite meals from our carnivorous days (shout out to my mama who "invented" this meal). 

I've detailed our normal recipe below. When we made it yesterday, we used fresh carrots from a friend's garden and threw in some leftover asparagus. I don't know that I'd use the asparagus again, but it was a nice experiment. 

1 package Smoked Turkey Sausage
8 oz Button Mushrooms
1/2 Onion (or a whole one if you really like onions)
1-2 TB Garlic
1 Green Pepper
10 Baby Carrots
3-4 Potatoes (white or red)
1-2 TB Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Lightly coat a 9 X 12 baking pan with cooking spray. 

3. Cut  vegetables & sausage and place in the pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.   

4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I'd recommend checking every 20 minutes. 

Enjoy with a hearty red wine, if you're so inclined...Cheers!

18 August 2010

Polenta Vegetable Bake

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we've been experimenting with vegetarian meals lately. To spice things up a bit, I decided to try a polenta recipe. Eating Well has a great recipe for a Polenta Vegetable Bake. Preparing polenta is a long process, so I used a pre-packged sun-dried tomato and garlic variety. I have to admit that I was very skeptical when I opened the package, as the gooey, gritty texture did not look very appealing. But, I gave it a go anyway, and the result was absolutely delicious. This dish tastes a bit like eggplant parmigiana. Mmmm! My zucchini had gone bad, so I used mushrooms and a bit of sauteed broccoli left over from another meal. I threw those in the pan with the eggplant. I also used dried basil (just a few sprinkles) and tomato sauce instead of a prepared marinara. The dried basil and the garlic in the polenta were enough to season the sauce. Feel free to use cooked frozen spinach (then you can omit the water). I will definitely make this dish again!

Polenta Vegetable Bake 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 14 ounces prepared polenta, sliced lengthwise into 6 thin slices
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water and spinach; cover and cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.
  3. Place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese, top with the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

16 August 2010

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wraps

My friend, Joyce, recently recommended the Eating Well website to me. What I love about this site is that it has great vegetarian recipes that incorporate non-meat sources of protein.  I whipped up this quick and easy dinner last week. 

If you've read any of my previous entries, you may have noticed that my substitutions are often out of necessity, thanks to a number of ditzy moments on my part. This recipe calls for adobe chiles, which I did, indeed, purchase. I made it home from the grocery store, but the chiles did not. As a very inferior substitute, I used Frank's Chile & Lime hot sauce. As we munched on our enjoyable wraps, we commented that they were quite good, but were missing a certain something... Oh yeah, the chiles!

I have a real problem with bean textures, but I mashed the cannellinis very thoroughly. This produced a nice creamy texture. I also wasn't sure I'd like the cabbage, but it was gorgeous & added a great crunch to the dish. We'll definitely make these again. Maybe I'll add some chopped fresh tomatoes & sour cream next time. 

Wrap Recipe

    • 2 TB cider vinegar
    • 1 TB canola 
    • 2 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobe sauce
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
    • 1 medium carrot
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I used a few dashes of dried cilantro)
    • 1 can (15 oz) white beans, rinsed
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
    • 2 TB minced red onion (I used about 1/4 green onion instead)
    • 4 8- to 10- inch whole-wheat wraps or tortillas
  1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine
  2. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.
  3. To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Bread Pudding

On a recent visit to Biaggi's, I discovered Bread Pudding. Their version is a white chocolate pudding made with brioche. Delicious! I decided to give bread pudding a try this week and followed this recipe, including the vanilla sauce. 

Pudding: I used a wheat French baguette and ended up fudging the whipping cream a bit. I made this on a bit of a whim Saturday night and was knee deep in the process before I realized that most of my whipping cream had disappeared into Friday's Easy Key Lime Pie. I used a cup of whipping cream and added some evaporated milk. I detest raisins in baked goods, so of course, I left them out...

Vanilla Sauce: When I got to the sauce recipe, I was dismayed to discover that I needed more whipping cream. This time, I added melted butter to milk to try to replace the cream. 

Next time, I'll use a regular French baguette and I'll be sure to have enough whipping cream on hand. I'll also decrease the sugar in the vanilla sauce (it was too sweet for me) and only use one TB of flour in the sauce (I used two this time, which made the sauce a bit too thick). 

Here's the recipe (or click on the recipe link above):

Bread Pudding

  • 3  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2  cups  sugar
  • 2  TB light brown sugar
  • 1/2  tsp  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 2 3/4  cups  whipping cream
  • 4  cups  cubed French bread
  • 3/4  cup  raisins

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients
  2. Stir in butter and whipping cream. 
  3. Gently stir in bread and raisins. 
  4. Pour into a lightly greased 2-quart soufflé or deep baking dish.
  5. Bake at 375° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let pudding stand 10 minutes before serving warm with Vanilla Sauce.

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 3 TB light brown sugar
  • 1 TB  all-purpose flour
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 TB  butter
  • 1 1/4  cups  whipping cream
  • 1 TB vanilla extract

  1. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. 
  2. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve warm or at room temperature.

15 August 2010

Moosewood Zuccanoes

Here's another recipe that made its first debut on Facebook, thanks to a picture posted by my dear husband. This recipe for Zuccanoes (Stuffed Zucchini) is from that staple of vegetarian cooking: Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook. While I like all the ingredients called for in this recipe, I didn't particularly like the dish. Tyson prepared the rice for me and I think it was a bit undercooked (Love you, Ty!). I also couldn't find big enough zucchini the week I made this, so I substituted mo qua. I'm not sure what impact that had. If I made these again, I would use zucchini, I'd make sure the rice was nicely cooked, and I'd probably use less lemon juice. 

·      4 medium zucchini (about 2 lbs)
·      1-2 Tbs olive oil
·      1 1/2 cups minced onion
·      1 tsp salt
·      1/2 lb minced mushrooms
·      1 1/2 cups cooked rice
·      1 1/2 cups minced almonds or pecans (lightly toasted)
·      3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
·      Black pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
·      A few pinches of freshly minced (or dried) herbs (any combination of parsley, basil, dill, thyme, or marjoram)
·      1 cup (packed) grated Swiss or cheddar cheese

1) Cut the zucchini lengthwise down the middle. Use a smallish spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a canoe with a 1/4-inch shell. Mince the insides, and set everything aside.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and salt, and saute over medium heat until the onion is soft (5-8 minutes).

3) Add the minced zucchini innards and the mushrooms. Turn up the heat and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring, letting the liquid evaporate. Stir in the garlic and remove from heat.

4) Stir in the rice and nuts, along with the lemon juice, and season to taste with black pepper, cayenne, and the herbs of your choice.

5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill the zucchini shells, top with cheese, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through.  

Granola Bars

I posted a granola bar recipe on Facebook recently. It was this recipe (and more time) that really prompted me to experiment more. Since I've heard a lot of anti-high fructose corn syrup lately, I wanted to make granola bars without it. In my first attempt, I used honey instead of corn syrup. I added chocolate chips and coconut. These bars were a little crumbly, but I think more honey and a slightly longer baking time could fix this.

I made the bars again today with honey, peanut butter, and coconut. This time, I substituted almond extract for vanilla extract. Mmmm! The peanut butter is holding these bars together better than my first batch. I'm not sure I love the peanut butter-coconut combination, but it's not bad. 

• 4½ cups old-fashioned oats (not quick oats!)
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 3/4 cup corn syrup
• 1 stick margarine or butter, melted
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1-1½ cups chocolate chips/peanut butter chips/dried fruit/nuts/coconut

1) Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
2) Press into a greased 9x13.
3) Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Lengthen bake time for crunchier bars.
4) Immediately after removing bars from oven, use a flat spatula to press bars firmly into pan (this helps them hold together).
5) Cut into bars after cooling for 10 minutes.