Monday, January 26, 2009


There was a recipe for falafel in this month's Cooking Light. I made it tonight, and it wasn't that fabulous. Now, part of the problem was that instead of adding 3 tbs of olive oil to the pan for the frying, I misread, and added it to the falafel mix. Even still, I don't think they would have turned out.

You'd think I'd have learned by now to carefully read all the instructions when starting out on a new recipe.

Awhile back I happened to catch Bobby Flay doing one of his cook-offs with someone making falafel. I just checked the
website and the recipe is there. It only got 3 stars on average, but it's really because some people rated it one star because the site didn't list his competitor's recipe. So, I'm thinking of trying his.
Or, what's so bad about using a falafel mix, really?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Warm Tortellini Salad

It's been a while since I've posted here. But I thought this recipe was so good-and not just because my daughter made it (and I didn't), but just yummy. So I am sharing.

Warm Tortellini & Cherry Tomato Salad
2 (9oz) packages fresh cheese tortellini
1 ½ cups sliced asparagus (about 1 lb.)
3 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls olive oil
¼ tsp black pepper
4 cups trimmed arugula (I used baby)
1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
¾ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 (14oz) can artichoke heart s drained/quartered

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus during last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain

While pasta cooks, combine vinegars, oil, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pasta mixture, arugula, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Serves 6

Monday, January 19, 2009

Comfort food: Roasted Veggies and Polenta

This is one of my favorite "chameleon" recipes. You can vary the veggies (beets, mushrooms, carrots, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, etc.) spices (thyme, basil, marjoram etc.), even the cheese you stir into the polenta (machengo, extra sharp cheddar, Gruyere). Add beans or fish or tofu (you might have to cook them separately to make sure they finish properly). I always keep polenta stone ground cornmeal) on hand so this becomes a pantry meal. Leftovers make good lunches. Pour your polenta into a pan, wrap in plastic, and store in the fridge. Cut into slices and pack. This also tastes good at room temp.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cheesy Polenta
from Eating Well Magazine
Makes 4 servings

4 cups cauliflower florets
4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
¾ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
⅔ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat oven to 500°F. 2. Toss cauliflower, squash and onion in a large bowl with oil, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until tender and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.3. Meanwhile, combine broth and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, rosemary and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cheese; remove the polenta from the heat. Serve the vegetables over the polenta.

A Better Tuna Sandwich

Some people on a vegetarian diet still eat fish, and some don't. I thought I would include this recipe for those that still eat fish.
A while back we were visiting my parents and my Dad had me try some tuna he had made. It was great! Fast forward to today. There is no school so all the kids were home for lunch. They asked what kind of sandwich they could have and I said "Tuna". My eight year old got really excited and said, "Can we have tuna with carrots in it?!" So we is how to make it.

Finely chop
1 medium sized carrot
1 stalk of celery
Some pickles-my Dad used sweet, but I prefer dill

When my Dad makes this he chops everything in a food processor. I have a hand crank food chopper that I use.
Put your chopped ingredients in a bowl. Add two 5 to 6 oz drained cans of Tuna and mayo or salad dressing enough to moisten everything. Serve on bread, or this also makes a good dip for tortilla chips and such.
Adding the veggies makes the tuna go farther, but it also adds a nice crunch. Chopped small enough the flavors blend together well, and you don't get an overpowering taste from any of them. You could also add onion or bell peppers if that floats your boat, although the flavors of those would come through stronger.
I was surprised that my kids had liked it so much when my Dad made it, but I am happy to give them a tuna sandwich that has less tuna in it and more veggies...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tacos Sans the Meat

My cousin gave me this idea. I love it.

You substitute the meat for black beans mixed with Taco Seasoning.

You will still have your shells or tortillas, cheese tomatoes, olives, lettuce, etc.

I add broccoli sprouts. They are delicious and taste great, better than lettuce.

Simple, tasty, and much easier to store than meat (both the bag and the can).

Give it a try and let me us know what you think.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The Pioneer Woman had this recipe on her blog. It looks amazing for breakfast or dinner (It will be breakfast tomorrow morning for me). I plan on lightening this by using less oil, fat free half-n-half, and replacing some of the eggs with egg whites. Loads of veggies, so its good for me, right? I'll also serve a citrus salad with pomegranate along side.

Pioneer Woman’s Migas

4 corn tortillas
Canola oil, to fry tortillas
10 to 12 large eggs
1/4 cup half & half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, depending on your taste
1 cup grated Monterey Jack or Cotija cheese

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and half & half. Salt and pepper eggs, then set aside.
In a small skillet over medium heat, heat oil and fry each corn tortilla just until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop tortillas and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the olive oil with the butter. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until starting to turn brown/black, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in diced jalapenos and stir to combine. Add tomatoes to the skillet and stir around, then add tortilla pieces, stirring gently to combine.

Reduce heat to low.

When the heat has decreased, pour egg mixture into skillet. Stir gently to cook with the peppers, folding mixture very gently as it cooks. Add in grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine. Serve with black beans.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Secret Ingredient to Mac'n'cheese

So, my usual method for making home-made mac'n'cheese is to not measure anything (just like my grandma taught me). After the noodles are cooked I just add in butter, flour, milk, cheese, and sometimes *gasp* green vegetables (tonight it was spinach, I totally did not go for anything vegetable wise in my mac'n'cheese until my sophomore year of college), and stir until all the cheese is melted. At any rate, it usually turns out pretty good.

My Handsome was making the mac'n'cheese tonight and wanted more exact measurements. So I got out the cookbook, but the two recipes were for baked mac'n'cheese (people make baked mac'n'cheese for stuff other than potlucks?). But, both recipes had nutmeg in them. So I ended up teaching Handsome how to make mac'n'cheese my way and just added a couple of dashes of nutmeg at the end. It was delicious! It added just a hint of sweetness to the cheese sauce, and made the flavor more interesting and complex. Definitely doing it again.

By the way, the type of cheese we used tonight was a colby and monterrey jack blend, although the recipes in the cookbook used cheddar and parmesan.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cooking after the holidays

We went visiting friends across country for their best New Year's Eve party ever. Great company, and great food. They were making assemble-your-won pizzas for a crowd, at least half of whom were vegetarian.

I arrived home lazy, unused to making dinner.

--I made that Indian tomato curry with Pulao Rice the day I got back, since it's a pantry meal.
--Then sloppy egg joes: fried eggs on a whole wheat buns, with sloppy joe sauce.
--then vegetarian enchilada casserole: zucchini, mushrooms and corn, layered between tortillas with jack cheese and canned green enchilada sauce.
--The swedish meatballs, meatballs optional. I should have come up with some kind of vegetarian meatless ball, but I have never solved that problem. Nevertheless everyone loves egg noodles with swedish cream sauce, and lingonberry jam. The sauce was from a packet from IKEA.
--running out of ideas, I made pasta wheels with marinara sauce. Tried to get the sometimes meat eaters to finish off yesterday's meatballs that no one loved.

I've got to come up with dinner for tonight and tomorrow. It all feels like pulling a full sled up a mountain. And since I've not come up with something, now tonight's shop, prep and serve is down to the hour between picking up little kid from her class, and taking the big kids to Young Women and scouts.

What are you making? And what's your go-to when you've got to come up with the no-idea dinner quick?