Sunday, May 1, 2011

Veggie Love Fest

As promised, I'm putting a bunch of vegetarian recipes that people sent me.

In a huge twist of irony, we are having steak tonight. I know. I'm a horrible person. But it's so rare that we treat ourselves, and that I consider a very rare treat.


The first two recipes are from reader Renee, huge Akindale supporter and a lovely lady I've come to know!

2 - 32 oz. cans chicken broth (for stricter vegetarian, I used Vegetable broth in a carton)
1 cup dried split peas
1 cup dried lentils
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 onions chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. pepper

Combine everything in a dutch oven and bake at 350 for 2 hours.

From Renee..."Next one I've made over and over and over....LOVE it."
I think I'm going to love it too!

4 large tomatoes
1/2 cup white raisins (I used dried cherries)
8 oz. orzo
1 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (I used 'some' dried, sprinkled in to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top of each tomato. Scoop out the seed pocket and over the sink, remove seeds and juice. With a small sharp knife, remove the inner pulp and discard. Place the tomatoes upside down on a rack to drain. (NOTE: I made the salad below, and just mixed in cherry tomatoes that I cut in half, rather than stuffing the tomatoes individually, it was alot easier, both to prepare, and to eat.....)

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, raisins, feta, green onions, cucumbers, pine nuts, mint, olive oils, and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Add salt, to taste. Scoop the mixture into the tomato shells and serve. (or like I said, just add some cherry tomatoes, cut in half, to the orzo and other ingredients and serve chilled....)

Thank you, Renee! Next up is from BFF Bexy, reporting in from London. Her first recipe I made not once but twice (because I had tons of arugula!). Even Matt thought it was satisfying, which is saying a lot.

Linguine with butter, Pecorino Romano, arugula and black pepper
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound linguine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup very finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add linguine and cook until al dente, stirring frequently, about 8 mins. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat. While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the pasta to moisten. Add the arugula, toss to combine, and season to taste with salt.

This one just sounds SO YUM. I haven't tried it yet, but don't worry. Cheese and me - we're close.

Fancy Mac and Cheese
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi, very spiraled textured pasta that the cheese sticks to brilliantly!
1 quart milk
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
12 oz Gruyere, grated, around 4 cups
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated, around 2 cups
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small vine tomatoes should work)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat oven to 375
Drizzle oil into large pot of boiling salted water. Add pasta and cook according to directions on package, 6-8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile heat the milk in a small saucepan but don't boil! Melt 6 Tbsp butter in a large pot and add the flour (making a roux). Cook over low heat for 2 mins, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for another minute or two, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat add the two cheeses, the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked cavatappi and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the top.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the macaroni is browner on top.

And for the final recipes, from Lizzie, who has taken to Cuban cooking like a duck to water, or me to cake. Her husband is Cuban, and she's a fantastic cook - anything she's made that I've eaten has been delish. I love how specific she gets even though she doesn't really measure anything (I am guilty of that too!).

Liz's "meat optional" chili
(or maybe "basic plan" would be a more appropriate designation... i never measure anything so these are best guesses):
1 tbsp oil (i usually use olive)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can any beans (more variety, the better), rinsed
1 can petite diced tomatoes
around 2 tbsp cumin
1 or 2 tbsp chili powder (depends on how fresh/strong the blend)
Note for KC: make sure you use a mild chili powder, unless you've decided to like spicy food!
salt and pepper to taste
optional - 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
small amount of spicy red pepper flakes
1 lb ground beef
Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Beef broth (if you want it to be more like chili soup, which is great)
Noodles (for said chili soup)
Baked potato

Using a stock pot, saute garlic and onions in oil until mostly softened. Add peppers (including jalapenos if using) and soften. Add majority of cumin and chili powder, stir well. Add can of beans and can of tomatoes, simmer until desired consistency, adding water if necessary. Salt and Pepper to taste. For thicker chili, add tomato paste or some over cooked beans or potatoes. Adding tomato paste can take away chili flavor, so taste and consider adding more chili powder or cumin.

If using meat, you can either brown first and drain before adding the garlic and onions to soften, OR cook separately with desired spices, extra garlic, and extra onions to be combined at the end (this is what I do since I like chili with no meat, and husband likes it with meat).

Garnish with shredded cheddar, sour cream, chives, or cilantro, etc, and serve as desired - great alone or with a starch (I vote for fat free sour cream and cilantro, with a side of cheesy toast :)

All ingredients are flexible, up quantities as desired. I tend to cook in large batches and usually use 2 or 3 cans of beans and a red pepper in addition to the green bell pepper. If you make this in a crock pot, I recommend softening onions and peppers first... I tried once but didn't soften first and ended up with crunchy vegetable chili, which was weird. Leftovers make decent burritos!

** Note: If you accidentally make chili too spicy (leftover chili is almost always spicier) add shredded carrots. The sugar in the carrots helps counteract the cepcacin

And a 2nd, totally different meat optional recipe: One of my favorite summer lunchtime or side dishes, though possibly not the lowest fat option, is SUPER DUPER EASY!

EASY and delicious tortellini pasta salad
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini's
1 bag frozen California mix (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and sometimes water chestnuts (love that crunch!))
1 packet of good seasons Italian-ish dressing (i think i like the garlic herb one best, but they're all good)

cook the tortellini, rinse under cool water
rinse the frozen vegetables to help thaw
mix everything together, refrigerate for a bit until everything is the same temperature, add more salad dressing as needed (the noodles soak some of it up)

Once in a while I'll mix in a can of tuna or shredded chicken, or leftover already prepared tuna or chicken salad (onions, celery, mayo and all) - so there's the optional meat!

On a related note: I've used beans instead of meat before with success - for example, use a packet of taco seasoning on a can of beans instead of a lb of ground beef - you might need less water, but it still tastes great in tacos or taco salad :)

This was awesome! I now have a bunch of delish recipes to try, and you do too! Special thanks to Lizzie, Renee and Bexy for offering up recipes to post on here. If you decide to try anything, let me know what you think!


Anonymous said...

Hi KC, they all look wonderful! I will print and let you know when I try one. (Linguine and arugula first) :) And thank you for your kind words. :)
One more, I made Easter for the first time, Arugula salad with Pears (figs when in season), fennel, goat cheese, pecans and a raspberry vinaigrette! It was SO tasty!!!
Have a great day. Renee :)

lizzieblue said...

Glad to be of service! For the record, chili is not cuban! But, I do intend to cook it for my cuban mother in law, who arrives THIS WEEK! Eeeekkkk! Also, during her stay, we'll be sure to barbeque at somepoint, and that tortellini salad is a MUST for a barbeque! Another also, my dad bought a boat this week!(we bought a lawn mower, almost as exciting). Want to go on it with us some time? (the boat, not the lawn mower!) Maybe a Sunday of elephant's trunk and leisurly boating? if it ever fits around your crazy busy schedule?
Postnote: I probably should have just written you an email. haha

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