Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm Going Vegan -- maybe once a day...

I've been trying to cut back on my caloric intake (at least Monday through Thursday) -- and have a cousin who is a dedicated vegan.  Suffice it to say, I've had a lot of vegan messages getting through the chaos of late.  So, I started snooping around looking for how/what to eat to be one.... I don't think I can give up all dairy, but I do think I can eat vegan dishes for dinner and save LOTS of calories at the end of each day.

Last night I made roasted cauliflower -- and although I didn't eat it for dinner, I DID eat it as a snack today and it was delicious!  It actually came from Bob Harper, the trainer on The Biggest Loser, and you can actually use any veggie.  Yum.

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 T. red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss all ingredients in a bowl.  Spread it all out on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recipes to Try -- Spinach and Pasta Soup

I have been collecting recipes I'm going to try in all sorts of places -- and I've decided since I've started using this blog as a resource and cookbook of sorts, I think I'll start loading in recipes I want to try (as well as ones I've made)...

This one was in the Washington Post yesterday (October 13) food section.  It's a soup (which I was, at one point committed to making more of) and it's quick and it looks like a way to sneak some spinach into those tiny mouths I'm in charge of feeding....we'll see.  They are pretty observant.

Spinach and Pasta Soup
1 lb. turkey or chicken sausage, without casings
1 medium onion
1 or 2 large cloves garlic
28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained
4 c. water
4 c. no salt added chicken broth, such as Kitchen Basics brand
8 oz. baby spinach leaves
15 oz. (1 can) no salt added cannellini beans (such as Eden brand)
Kosher salt
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Mini bow tie pasta

Pinch pieces of the sausage and place in a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook the sausage, stirring to break up large clumps, until the exterior is no longer pink(it need not be fully cooked through at this point).

Cut the onion into small dice to yield 1 cup.  Mince the garlic (to taste). Coarsely chop the tomatoes, reserving their juices.

Add the onion and garlic to the pot; cook for 4 minutes, stirring a few times, until just softened, then add the tomatoes and their juices.

Stir in 2 c. of the water and the 4 c. broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes; it will still be firm.

Rinse, then coarsely chop the spinach. Drain and rinse the beans.

Add the remaining 2 c. water, the spinach and the beans to the pot.  Stir, then cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes; the spinach should be tender, the pasta should be al dente and the sausage will be cooked through.  Season wtih salt to taste (keepin in mind that cheese might be added)

Divide among individual wide shallow bowls; sprinkle with the freshly grated cheese, if desired.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kelly's Kielbasa

It seems like it’s a lifetime ago, but I was once single and rented a room from a high school pal named Kelly.We ate a lot of toast and drank a lot of Coors Light back in those days, but we were also in the infant stages of trying to actually cook – and Kelly came up with a recipe that I loved (I think she found it on the back of the kielbasa package).When I was trying to figure out something different, easy, and perhaps even tasty for my kids, I remembered the dish fondly…. It had rice, and cheese, and kielbasa and cream of celery soup.I googled the ingredients and came up with a close match – it calls for mushrooms which would be a deal breaker among my kids – so I just omitted them.I cooked it in one pan and watched as the pickiest among us ate around the peas, but my husband (who, as I’ve mentioned it the fourth, and in many ways, the largest picky eater) took seconds and dare I report, thirds?(It was probably the cheese).In the interest of health and my new found commitment to watching what I eat, I used turkey kielbasa with no loss of flavor… and I used Swiss cheese because that’s what Kelly did.

Kelly's Kielbasa
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 1/2 c. water
1 lb. fully cooked Turkey kielbasa cut into 1/2" chunks
3/4 c. long grain rice
10 oz. frozen peas
1 (4oz) can mushroom stems and pieces (did not pass the picky kid test)
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I use Swiss)

In a deep skillet (one with a lid), combine soup and water, bring to a boil.
Add sausage and rice
Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 18 minutes or until rice is almost tender
Stir in peas and mushrooms
Cover and simmer 15 minutes more, or until rice is tender and peas are heated through
Sprinkle with cheese and cover
Let stand (off heat) until cheese melts.