Category Archives: Quick Weeknight Recipes

Stickin’ to

Offal Vinegar Veggies

sour_vegetables

There’s one thing for certain: /52weeksofcooking challenges certainly force me to think outside the box.  This week the challenge was “offal”, aka the parts of the animal that even the craziest of meat eaters tend to avoid.  While I have indulged in a few of them, mostly while overseas and always while a guest, I knew that I was going to have to be creative when it came time to find a way to vegetarianize this challenge.  Thankfully the mods are very flexible and open and extended the definition to includes parts of the vegetable that aren’t typically used.  While I generally save my scraps for vegetable soup, I had a lot of cabbage pieces and so decided to toss a bunch of scraps and peels in a pot with vinegar.  To make it a bit more substantial, I added some cannellini beans but these veggies would be fine sans beans along with some bbq tofu.

 

Stickin’ to

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 red onion, dced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup beets, shredded
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked and well rinsed.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes and then stir in the vinegar. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes before stirring in the beans. Mix well and then cook for a final 3 minutes, or until the beans are warm.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2015/01/stickin-to.html

Certainly not your typical offal dish, but a great way for using up ingredients that might otherwise have been tossed.  It’s not often that we have leftover cabbage in the house but this was a great way to use those last few leafs – and the beets scraps turned everything a fantastic shade!

What it Wants

Red Curry Thai Soup

thai_green_curry

First Secret Recipe Club post of 2015!!!!  About a month ago, there was a request for someone to take over for a blogger in Group D that was no longer able to participate.  While it turns out she was partnered with me for the cookie exchange, I was able to adopt her “normal” blog: Life on Food.  I quickly identified three recipes that looked fantastic: Cream of Broccoli Soup, Skillet Lasagna, and Red Curry Soup.  In the end, the curry won out as it was so different than anything else I had tried out and with all the winter weather we’ve been having I needed something on the spicy side.  While Emily’s version features beef, I simply doubled all the other ingredients and used a thicker rice noodle.

 

What it Wants

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb rice noodles
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15oz can coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp lemongrass
  • Basil

Instructions

  1. In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes and then add the sweet potatoes, cooking until just soft.
  2. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, coconut milk, red curry paste, and lemon grass to pan simmering until the sweet potato is tender, around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and then stir in noodles and top with the fresh basil.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2015/01/what-it-wants.html

Emily was right on in saying that this is “a hot meal that warms you from the inside out” – and I’ve already made it again!  The trick with the noodles is to add them at the very last moment in order to keep them from soaking up all the broth.  However the broth is one that can’t be wasted so nothing really wrong with that happening.  Needless to say this was a fantastic dish and I can’t wait to pick up some more curry and make another batch.  The only hard part of this recipe was finding a curry paste that was free of shrimp – but in end was able to find some at Whole Foods.


Gives a Smile

4 Cheese Pasta Bake

mushroom_spinach_bake 

Nothing like a dairy challenge to get my husband involved with planning a meal – so thank you /52weekofcooking for that!  He tossed around lots of ideas, and at least one of them will be making an appearance in a few weeks, but for today I’m sticking with a super cheesy pasta dish that comes together in record time.  In fact, if you have some pre-made sauce in the freezer this delicious dish can be on the table well within an hour of getting home!  This was also my first time testing out some treats from Gourmet Garden, which I got as part of a blog challenge I’m participating in come February.   As for the cheeses, well I just grabbed whatever I thought would work – and then grabbed a few more!

Gives a Smile

Serves: Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb angel hair pasta, precooked and set aside
  • 2 cups favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herb Paste
  • 1 cup spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix the egg with the Parmesan cheese until smooth then stir in the two pastes along with the spinach, onion, and red pepper flakes. Set Aside
  3. Spread 2 tbsp of sauce along the inside of a 2qt casserole dish, to include the sides
  4. Spoon 1/3 of the pasta in the casserole dish, then top with half of the ricotta cheese, half of the mushrooms, half of the onion/egg mixture, and 1/4 cup of the provolone cheese and 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat, switching the provolone with the mozzarella cheese. Top with the last of the pasta and cheeses before finishing with the remaining sauce (1 cup) and left over provolone and mozzarella cheeses.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese is brown on the edges and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before Serving!

Notes

If not using gourmet garden pastes, sub with three cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 tbsp dried Italian herb blend

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2015/01/gives-a-smile.html

Needless to say one must really enjoy cheese in order to enjoy this dish, so if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant this might be a good recipe to skip.  It can be easily adapted for gluten free by switching out the whole grain pasta for a gluten free variety, of which there are more and more available!  For even more vegetables, I love that there are more and more vegetable flavored pastas – tho it does keep me from making my own.   For a super healthy option, switch out the pasta entirely for spaghetti squash – just reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes to prevent the squash from becoming totally dried out.

I have to say, using the Gourmet Garden pastes really sped up the process – and the flavors were fantastic!  I only wish more of the pastes were vegan, with the collection I got only the ginger was whey free and while that isn’t a HUGE issue for me it would still be nice.  However the convenience of the products is insane and I love that the ingredients are all organic, plus it tells you right on the container how many fresh cloves, bunches, etc went in to the container.

 Note:  I received a bunch of Gourmet Garden pastes and herbs as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd.  I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.    

Where are you

Acorn Squash Quinoaacorn_squash_quinoa

Happy Holidays!  A bit late but things have been a little insane around here. In non-food news, we had our first donor IVF cycle a week ago and will be finding out the results later this week/early next.  It’s amazing how in some ways time has flown since then but yet in other ways time has stopped – or in the very least is dragging on. I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing, and working on new recipes, but very little time in the kitchen. It hasn’t helped that my oven broke, but figuring out ways around it.   Primarily that means lots of stove top cooking and very few baked treats but that’s okay!  If anything it gives me a jump start on my New Years Resolution to cut back on sweets, but we’ll see how long that lasts.   Today’s recipe is actually one I made right before my transfer,  and one that I started working with at the start of fall.  Since my house is mostly a nut free zone, I have to find other ways of recreating nutty flavors, usually  in the form of sesame seeds.   However I’ve become slightly addicted to acorn squash – nutty and sweet and meaty all in one awesomely healthy gourd.  I’ve started adding it to everything to see what it does, and does not go with, and so far everything has worked!  This dish was one of those cabinet/fridge clearing exercises where a bunch of stuff had to go before it was too late – so into the pan it went!

Where are you

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 mayan onion, diced
  • 1 acorn squash, cubed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the spices and cook for one minute stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the garlic and onion and toss well in the spices, then cook for 8 minutes, until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash starts to brown. Add the quinoa, toss in the oils and spices then pour in the vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover, and turn heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then stir and fluff the quinoa and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/where-are-you.html

This dish was a creamy curry success – the acorn squash goes fantastically with the spices and the heat without becoming a mushy mess.   I served these with some sesame greens, as some habits are hard to break.

Careful Making

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

beets_with_quinoa

I still can’t believe this year is almost over – and that /52weeksofcooking is almost done (again).  It’s been a fun adventure with new ingredients and techniques and cuisines, which is why I can’t wait to see what themes are picked for next year.   I’m also a little behind, so today’s dish is actually from week 49 where dried fruit were the theme.  I debated going with something sweet, oatmeal raisin cookies or similar, but after seeing some fantastic looking beets at the market I decided to go with something savory.  After all, there is more than enough junk food this time of year!  The beets I picked up still had the greens attached, however I know that’s not always the case so feel free to switch out for some swiss chard or collards.

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 large beets, diced
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup tri-color (or red) quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked
  • 2 cups beet greens, torn
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes before adding the diced beets. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the herbs and pepper, and stir well before adding the quinoa - continue to stir until quinoa is coated in the oil (about 1 minute). Add the vegetable stock and bring to a quick boil.
  3. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, add the beans, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then start adding the greens a 1/2 cup at a time. Once they have wilted, add the next portion, stirring as needed.
  4. Once all the greens have been added cook for a final 5 minutes. Mix in the cranberries, then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/careful-making.html

This dish is one where layering the ingredients really comes off – and keeps the leaves from turning bright pink.  I enjoyed this dish “naked” while Joe topped his with some grated Parmesan cheese, soy crumbles would also work for those wanting to add more salt to the dish.  I’m more of a bitter person, which is why I loved how the tart of the cranberries went against the natural sweet of the beets.