Tag Archives: vegetarian

Rasta Pasta

1-recipe

In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

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Savory Baked Spinach

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Hooray, another Dr. Matthews recipe! The man who contributed recipes for Salisbury Steak and Sherried Beef is back with a baked spinach dish that will knock your socks off – which isn’t easy to do with frozen spinach. It’s one of the least glamorous ingredients imaginable, in the same class with creamed corn and tinned fruit cocktail. There just isn’t anything good to do with frozen spinach… or so I thought.

This recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD. I try to avoid excessive use of capitalized words, as it is far too easy to overuse their emphasis, but this is an exceptional case. I have never had such good spinach in my entire life. The dish is something like a quiche, but without the “jiggly” texture. The seasonings, cheese, and spinach all combine to create an absolutely scrumptious flavor that neither I nor my SO could get enough of. If you make this, expect to hear cries of “More spinach, please!”. It may be a first. :)

I replaced the rice in this recipe with cauliflower rice, to continue the low-carb trend. Absolutely delicious, I don’t feel that it hurts the finished product at all. The “finished” picture is shown served with Josie’s Crockpot Apple Pork Tenderloin from Clean Eatz, which was super tasty! Full credit to this cool lady for a great recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-casserole

Combine all ingredients in an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice into squares, and serve.

3-finished

Serves 6.

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Bulgarian Monastery Bean Soup

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Today’s recipe is an excellent illustration of why one should hire a recipe tester before publication – or at least do some basic logic-oriented proofreading! There are poorly-worded directions, ingredients out of order, and an entire set of instructions which go nowhere and leave the reader hanging. No bueno, my friends. Muy mal.

Ingredients out of order are a large problem for the home cook. It is very annoying to read through a recipe, begin cooking, and then realize that something is missing. Preparation instructions are also important. I would like to point out to the publisher of today’s recipe that carrots are round. You do not cube carrots. I know that this is a small detail, but details are important.

The most notable problem with this recipe involves the preparation and addition of the paprika. The technique described is borrowed from Indian cooking, and is called chaunk: spices and seasonings are fried briefly in a small amount of oil to enhance their flavor, and then added to a dish. This recipe totally screws up the concept. The amount of oil used is WAY too much: 1/2 cup?! If I actually added this much oil to a soup, it would be disgusting. 1 tablespoon would have been sufficient. Still, even with a corrected amount of oil, the recipe has a still larger problem: after the instructions to prepare the paprika in oil, there is absolutely NO further reference to said paprika or oil whatsoever! If I had made this soup precisely according to the recipe, I would have ended up with a pot of somewhat inoffensive soup, and a skillet full of red, burnt oil sitting on my stove until the cows came home. Not acceptable, recipe publisher. You fail the test.

I chose to avoid the paprika-oil-chaunk problem altogether, and simply add 1/2 tablespoon of paprika directly to the soup. The resulting flavor was pretty good, and I would make this again – my rewrite, not the original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried lima beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, or 1-2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

In a large pot, soak the beans in water for several hours.

2-carrots

Bring the water-covered beans to a boil, and add the onion and carrots.

Boil for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans become soft.

3-mint

Add the mint, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

4-tomato_paste

Add the tomato paste, paprika, and salt, and simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

Serve warm, and garnished with parsley.

5-finished

Serves 6-8.

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Creamy Dill Potato Salad

1-recipe

Looks like the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company streak is holding true: their recipes are yummy! The “Peggy’s Pantry” recipes from the same source, however, are nowhere near as reliable. I wonder if something changed in their recipe writing and publication department? Note to self: check dates on recipes, see if there is a pattern.

This is one of the most unique potato salads I have run across. Generally speaking, potato salads tend to come in two varieties: mustard with optional hard-boiled egg added, and mayonnaise with optional bacon. Today’s salad is completely different. It features red potatoes, green peas, fresh dill, green onions, and (of all things) horseradish! The texture is fairly crunchy, due to the celery, and the flavor has a great “bite”. Now that the weather is warming up, I may make this again for a weekend picnic!

Ingredients:

  • 8 small red potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

2-potatoes

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the lemon juice.

3-celery

Stir in the celery and green onion.

4-peas

Rinse the peas in cold water, drain thoroughly, and fold into the potato mixture.

5-mayo

Add the sour cream, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

For best results, refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to mingle.

6-finished

Serves 6.

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Fettuccine Alfredo

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We’ve had this recipe in the family for as long as I can remember. I think it’s a safe guess that, since the ingredients feature the Skinner brand of pasta, my mother probably clipped the recipe from a box of their product. I have used this “pattern” as the basis for nearly every white pasta sauce that I make; I simply modify the ingredients to suit whatever I’m cooking (and have on hand).

There is nothing terribly complicated about this dish. The key is to use fresh parsley, rather than dried, for the best depth of flavor. In addition, if you can use real fresh grated Parmesan, rather than the powdered kind one puts on top of pizza, the results will be much better. :) Refrigerated leftovers do not heat up terribly well, so I recommend halving the recipe when necessary to ensure that all the delicious creamy cheesy goodness is consumed when fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

2-melt_butter

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

3-cheese

Gradually stir in the Parmesan cheese, then add the cream and stir until well blended.

Heat the sauce just to the boiling point, stirring constantly.

4-parsley

Remove sauce from heat, and stir in the parsley and garlic.

Toss the sauce with the pasta.

5-finished

Serves 4-6.

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Soulful Black-Eyed Peas

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Writing about this recipe is making me so hungry! I’ve always liked black-eyed peas, and this is a proper Southern preparation. The only thing missing is bacon, and I definitely plan to add some next time. Be warned: when the recipe says that it serves 8, it’s being humble. I ended up with an absolutely huge volume of leftover black-eyed peas, and we ate them for a week! My SO suggested making refried beans with some of the leftovers, and I think this is a great idea. Next time I make this recipe, I’ll give it a shot and make some sort of Creole enchiladas. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked red pepper

Directions:

Wash and drain the peas, and allow them to soak in water to cover for at least 1 hour.

2-onions

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown.

3-water

Add the garlic, water, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper.

4-peas

Bring the mixture to a boil, add the black-eyed peas to the saucepan, and return to a boil.

5-cover

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender.

6-finished

Serves 8.

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Spiced Potatoes

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Ah, to be young again. The lack of responsibility! The freedom from having to pay bills! Being able to run around all day and climb trees! And, of course, the liberty to be absolutely illegible in one’s personal notes. I wrote down today’s recipe when I was about 8 years old, and my handwriting was completely atrocious.

There are two keys to this recipe. The first is slicing the potatoes into small cubes: this helps them to become crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside without burning. The second is adding the onion near the end of cooking. If you add it at the beginning, it will crisp and burn. Cook wisely, cook well, and enjoy the potatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

2-butter

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

3-potatoes

Add the potatoes and cayenne pepper, and fry until crisp, stirring occasionally.

4-onion

Add the onion, and cook for 1 more minute.

Serve hot and salted.

5-finished

Serves 2-4.

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Vegetable Beef Soup

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It’s a rare recipe where the directions can be summarized with the word “make”. My mother’s soup really is that simple: assemble ingredients, put the pot on to simmer, and let it do its thing. If you’d rather have more of a stew than a soup, simmer the mixture down until it’s nice and thick. If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, it’s equally simple: don’t add the meat. Bam. Done. Robust vegetarian dinner for several, coming up.

When I think of commercial vegetable soup, I remember watery broth with a few vegetables half-heartedly swimming in it. That isn’t a stand-alone dinner by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d be a little embarrassed to have it on my table. To use an automotive metaphor: if the store-bought option is a Ford Pinto, this soup is a Ferrari. It’s packed chock-full of every kind of delicious vegetable, plus chunks of tender, savory beef. This ain’t yo mama’s vegetable soup. It’s mine.

I chose to use chunks of round steak rather than a beef bone for this particular preparation, because I am currently city-bound and don’t have access to a good butcher. I also omitted the macaroni: I can’t remember my mother ever actually putting it in, and the soup doesn’t need it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound round steak, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (15-ounce) can peas
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn
  • 1/2 cup dried lima beans (you can use the canned ones, but they’re so much better cooked fresh)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

2-ingredients

In a large pot, combine all ingredients and add water to cover.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until all ingredients are tender and fully cooked.

3-finished

Serves 6-8.

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Hot Rice

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From the style in which the title of this recipe is written, I infer that my grandmother (or perhaps Norma Fowler, the recipe’s listed author) did not have a great tolerance for spicy foods. This dish is not particularly spicy, but it is certainly Southwestern. The green chiles have a wonderful flavor, which is well tempered by the Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream. I made this recipe as a side dish, but I think that it would also make a wonderful enchilada filling. Must remember to add that idea to my ever-growing list of things to try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans green chiles
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-layer_chiles

Layer in a well-greased 8” x 8” x 2” casserole dish half of the rice, salt and pepper, half of the green chiles,

3-layer_cheese

half of the Monterey Jack cheese,

4-sour_cream

and half of the sour cream.

5-casserole

Repeat, and top the casserole with the Romano cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

6-finished

Serves 4-6.

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Creamy Spinach Dip

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Recipes are a great marketing tool. Just about every food package from a major brand, be it box, bag, can, or carton, has a recipe printed on it. Given that this recipe specifically references Del Monte brand canned spinach, I think that it’s a safe bet that the recipe originated from a Del Monte package.

The downside of many “try our product” recipes like this is that they are not always well tested or balanced. This particular dip is a good starting point, but I think that it could be improved. The onion soup flavor dominates heavily, and doesn’t really bring out the flavor of the spinach. I think that I would try this recipe again, but instead of using dried onion soup mix mixed with sour cream, I would omit the soup mix altogether and replace the sour cream with French onion dip. I would also omit the mayonnaise: it doesn’t really contribute anything interesting to the flavor or texture.

I’d rate the Del Monte recipe 3/5 stars. Not bad, perfectly edible, but not terribly exciting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can chopped spinach
  • 2 cups light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper

Directions:

2-spinach

Drain the spinach well, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid.

3-mix

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, liquid, sour cream, mayonnaise, onion soup mix, and red pepper.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

4-finished

Serve with vegetables or crackers.

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