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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian Main Dish’ Category

Everything I do lately seems to be a little bit random, and last night’s dinner definitely was.    But I can explain:   I had chosen the two recipes I wanted to blog, and then had a huge craving for an Amy’s frozen pizza.    And one of my favorite things about living alone is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and you don’t have to explain a thing to anyone.  So my dinner last night was an Amy’s frozen pesto pizza, okra and onions, and sweet potato chips. 

I found the recipe I used for the sweet potato chips in the October 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.  This recipe is not posted on their website yet or I would link it here.   Their recipe is for making the chips in a dehydrator, but I altered the ingredients a bit, then popped the chips into the oven.  I was really surprised at how many chips one large sweet potato makes!  

Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

1 large sweet potato
1 T. olive oil (and more as needed)
1 T. lime juice (or lemon if you like)
1 T. dried rosemary, crushed
Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Thinly slice the sweet potato, getting the slices as thin as you can.    Place the slices into a bowl and toss with the olive oil.  I started with one tablespoon, then just added as needed.   Once your slices are coated in the oil, add the lime juice and crushed rosemary, tossing to cover.   Then sprinkle sea salt on the surface and toss again to coat.  

Spread the slices onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, then toss to expose uncooked surfaces and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so.    Cooking times will vary greatly depending on the thinness of your chips, oven variables, etc.    But I think you know when a chip is ready to be eaten.  ; )

The other recipe I made was Okra and Onions, also from the October 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times, in an article from the book The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More Than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes by Madhu Gadia:

Okra and Onions

2 T. canola oil
1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped (1.5 cups)
12 oz. frozen sliced okra, thawed
2 t. ground coriander
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 t. amchoor or 1 tsp. lemon juice (I used lime)
1/2 t. sugar

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.   Add the cumin; cook 10 seconds.   Add the onion; saute 3 minutes.   Stir in okra, then coriander, salt, and turmeric.   Also add the cayenne pepper at this point.  I just sprinkled a little bit of cayenne into the pan, I am a bit afraid of heat – I’ve ruined a few dishes making them too hot for my taste.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.   I cooked mine a tiny bit longer, uncovered, until the onions were clear and just beginning to carmelize a little.    Once the okra and onions are cooked, stir in the amchoor or lemon juice (in my case lime juice) and sugar.  

I really liked this recipe, the okra and onions have their own flavors, and then as you eat it you taste the various spices at different times, and then the sweetness of both the onions and the tiny bit of added sugar also comes through.  It’s simple, quick and delightful.

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I played around on a web project too long today and found myself starving and shaky with no plans for dinner.   I was thinking about pasta, but when I saw a couple of different kinds already open in the kitchen, I didn’t want to open a new box.   So I threw some water on to boil, with plans to blend some shells and thin spaghetti, and top it with a concoction of leftovers.

I had on hand a half zucchini, a can of black beans, and a half jar of pasta sauce. I also had some apples from my friend Lise’s tree, which would make a perfect dessert.

While the water was boiling I peeled the apples, but left them on the core.   Then I put them into a bowl and drizzled vanilla extract over them, sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon on them, then shook a couple of spoonsful of raw sugar over the bowl.   I popped those into the microwave for three minutes.

While the apples cooked, I sliced the half zucchini onto a plate, along with a couple cloves of prechopped garlic from a jar, dried oregano and basil, and some cracked pepper and sea salt.   I set that aside until the microwave was available again.

Once the water was boiling, I put both pastas into the water.   When the apples were done, I put the zucchini dish into the microwave for three minutes, too.   I opened a can of black beans and rinsed and drained it.   Once the pasta was done, it was drained and added back to the pan, along with some olive oil, which I then tossed it in.   I added one can of black beans, and 1/2 jar of pasta sauce to the noodles and tossed.   By then the zucchini was finished microwaving and I sat down to have my delicious hot meal that didn’t take more than 15 minutes to make!

Every thing I used in the meal was organic.   The noodles and beans were from Eden Organic, the spices, herbs and pasta sauce were Archer Farms.  You gotta love that. 

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Wow!  I can’t believe how busy I have been.  I’m working on a couple of other web projects and recipes and gardening — life just gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I cooked something new the other day: rice pasta.  This was the first time I had tried it;  I used the angel hair pasta and I like it!  It’s a bit tricky on the cooking time – my box said 5 to 7 minutes, and I went a bit longer, which made it too soft.  I cooked more later and stopped right at 8 minutes and it was just right.  The water turns opaque white, so don’t be alarmed.   The rice pasta doesn’t have the usual pasta flavors we are used to –  it doesn’t taste like a wheat noodle, maybe closer to the lack of flavor of a white flour pasta, but with it’s own rice flavor.  I like them — I’ll continue to buy them.  I’m still using up my farmer’s market veggie finds, too!  Here’s what I made:

Rice Pasta with Zucchini, Patty Squash & Kidney Beans

olive oil
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow patty squash
1/4 large white onion
1 clove garlic
cracked black pepper
1/2 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup organic pasta sauce
cinnamon
rice pasta – angel hair spaghetti
1/2 can kidney beans

Start your water boiling for the rice pasta.  Chop the onion and slice the squashes, then saute along with garlic and cracked pepper in olive oil until vegetables are browning slightly.  In the meantime, add pasta to water and cook the recommended time, rinse with cold water.  Return the pasta to the pan and add the kidney beans to it;  stir slightly to mix.   To the vegetable saute add 1/2 can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and a dash of cinnamon (or two).    Stir until heated through.  Put drained pasta with beans onto a plate and top with some of the cooked mixture.   It’s delicious! 

I always use organic ingredients, but the choice is yours. 

If you haven’t discovered glass storage containers yet, have a look at the small one in the photos below.  It measures about 3 x 4 x 4 inches and is so handy for storing canned foods when I only use a portion of the can’s contents.  These containers come in all sizes, but I have been using this small size every day to put stuff in my fridge. 

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THIS PAST WEEKEND HAS BEEN busy and has spilled over into this new week, starting with a trip to the nearby Moore’s Farmers Market on Thursday.  My friend Marcie lives up there and she took me around to introduce me to some of her new farmer friends.  I had a great time!  I also came away with some good zucchini, other types of squash, and onions.   I love the freshness of the food just brought in from someone’s farm!    Two of the farmers gave me info on their farms, which are open to the public — I can’t wait to go visit.  An Oklahoma winery was also set up there, and I grabbed their info on the way out, for yet another field trip. 

After some quick planning, I managed to get my act together for planting some vegetables and herbs.  I had my beds all prepared, but no plants.   I made a quick run to the local Lowe’s and grabbed a thyme plant, rosemary plant, and organic seeds for two types of tomatoes, two types of lettuce, bell peppers, and basil (omg I love basil).   Yesterday I got the plants into the beds, and all of the seed into trays.  (Side note:  Lowe’s also has a couple of different organic soils.)   The lettuce seed is unplanted as of yet, since it is sown directly outdoors and just sprinkled with soil.  We had a gully washer today, and I didn’t want my little babies washed away.   I’ll likely spread the lettuce seed tomorrow.    Once I get the plants hardy enough to move outdoors, I want to fill in spaces with plants that attract bees and butterflies.  I’ve posted a lot of good gardening links for homemade bug sprays and other things on my facebook page. I hope you can have a look and “Like” the page.

I took Sunday to begin planning a good schedule for this blog, and I am working on some ideas for a couple of new blogs (can’t wait!)  Tomorrow will be one more day of planning, and then food shopping, before I get back into the full swing of things. 

Tonight I threw together this soup for dinner:

Lisa’s Farmer’s Market Soup

32 oz. organic vegetable broth

1 cup broccoli heads

1 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1/4 white onion, chopped

1 cup cooked whole grain brown rice

Cracked black pepper & thyme to taste

Cook the rice ahead and put aside (check package, can take 45 minutes to an hour).  Into a saucepan or skillet, pour broth and add all  vegetables.  Add pepper and thyme,  and bring to boil until carrots are softened.    Stir in the cooked rice and serve hot.

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I saw these Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmesan on the My Recipes website, and knew I had to make it.  Such a springy, brunchy, good-for-Mother’s-Day dish!

I just finished preparing it and here are my tips:

1)  I put the olive oil, squash (I used two zucchini also), garlic and onion into the pan all at once, then started cooking it.
2)  While cooking, I separated the onions to one section of the pan so that they could be closer to the heat, while I continued to gently toss the squash, which was more delicate than the onion, and cooked quicker.
3)  I will leave off the crushed red peppers next time. I only used 1/4 teaspoon and the dish is too hot for me.
4) These vegetables are good without the cheese. If you use the parmesan, instead of measuring it, I would just place 4 or 5 shavings onto each serving, or place on the table in a separate bowl for each guest to take.

I really like the squash and zucchini prepared this way. I used to be a big fan of egg noodles, and would eat them with just butter and salt and pepper. This is a perfect substitution for that, and these would be really good with a marinara sauce.

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I’VE TRIED A FEW DIFFERENT whole grain pastas lately.  My two favorites have been a thin spaghetti whole wheat pasta by Archer Farms and this Kamut Ditalini by Eden Organic.   I received a sample of this in the mail, and I have to say I really do like it.  I find, as many people do, that the whole grain pastas can be . . . well . . . grainy.   And by that I mean they are grainy to the tongue — rough where we are used to feeling smooth from our white flour pastas.  So the thinner long noodles or  short cut noodles like this ditalini are better at blending in with the food and not calling attention to themselves.   You feel like you are eating a whole dish, not just a grainy pasta with some other stuff around it. 

I prepared this dish by sauteing white onion, green and red bell peppers, and a clove of garlic in some olive oil.  Once all those were softened, I added a can of kidney beans and a can of diced onions.  In the meantime I had the pasta boiling (has to boil for 10 minutes), and then after draining the pasta, I topped it with the veggies and beans.  I’m going to try this pasta again in some other recipes, but for a first try on a thrown-together quicky meal, I have to say I do like it.

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THIS IS MY VERSION OF Jamie Oliver’s Cool Mexican Bean Wrap recipe in my previous post.  I changed a few things, since I like to experiment.  Here are the ingredients:

olive oil

1/2 large white onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic

pinch of chili powder

1 T.  tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes or 1 c. chopped fresh tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

1/2 can black beans

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

2 Romaine lettuce leaves per serving, spines cut level with leaf

Saute the onion in olive oil, along with the garlic and chili powder.  Add the tomato sauce, beans, and tomatoes.  Cook 10 minutes.  In another pan, saute the sliced peppers in olive oil until soft, puree in blender with 1/2 can of black beans.  Put the beans and 1/2 of the peppers into a blender to make bean spread.   Put the rest of the peppers into the pan of the tomato mixture.  

Take the bean spread and line the inside of the romaine leaves with it, fill with tomato bean filling, and fold over.  I served mine with some sliced cucumbers and black bean chips.  These weren’t exactly “wraps” — I had to eat them with a fork, but I wanted to try the lettuce instead of flour tortillas.  All of the flavors were mui bueno and would easily satisfy a craving for Mexican food.

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