“Little Ear” Pasta with Broccoli

I watched Moneyball last night.  It was great and I don’t even like baseball!  I’m a disappointment to my dad, I’m sure.  

There are some actors that I will see any movie they make, just because they are in it, among these are Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt.  What if they made a movie together?  Oh my gosh!  When I was a teenager, Brad Pitt was filming the movie Twelve Monkeys in Philadelphia. I lived about 45 minutes away.  I remember being crazy with the fact that he “was so close to me”.  It was a pathetic crush.  His pictures were all over my walls.  I used to watch that scene in Legends of the Fall when he tipped his hat and the water dripped off, over and over and over and over.  So sad.  

Fortunately, he was a good actor, and has remained around for me to obsess over.  Unfortunately, he is with Angelina Jolie (who irritates me to no end) and not me.  

Maybe if I made this pasta for him, he’d change his mind.  Probably not, but just maybe…

Little Ear Pasta with Broccoli

from the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

 

2 bunches of broccoli

sea salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tb extra virgin olive oil

6 oil-packed anchovies, or to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb orecchiette or other pasta

water

black pepper

 

Clean and coarsely chop the broccoli.  Bring about 1 inch of salted water to boil in a heavy sauvepan.  Add the broccoli and cook until it is tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Set the pan of broccoli aside, and keep warm.

In a separate skillet or saute pan, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil until it is soft, then melt in the anchovies by crushing them in the garlicky oil with a fork.  Add the red pepper and stir to mix well.  Turn the garlic-pepper oil into the broccoli and mix.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until done.  Drain the pasta immediately combine with the broccoli.  Turn into a warm serving bowl, add pepper, and serve in a large bowl.

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A Fiber Rich Lunch…or using up leftovers?

I was staring at my fridge and thought…hmm…what’s for lunch?  I threw my leftover chicken on top of some spinach, added my leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and brown rice, sprinkled on some goat cheese, and here’s what I got.  It was pretty good, but I thought it made a pretty picture.

Here is the link to the Black Bean and Rice recipe.

Breakfast for Dinner and Easy Little Bread

There is something totally comforting about breakfast for dinner.  I don’t quite know why I love it so much, but I do.  It’s like taking your day and standing it on it’s head, and sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Add to that comfort, fresh, warm bread, right out of the oven, and you’ve got yourself a cozy night in the making.

The star of this show is definitely the bread.  The eggs are just scrambled, then mixed with an herb cream cheese (green onions, chives, tarragon, thyme, oregano, dill and basil, with some salt and pepper to finish it off).  The bread is super easy, and can be done after work, while you’re making  just about anything.

Easy Little Bread

from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/4 C Luke Warm Water

1 packet of quick rise yeast

1 TB runny honey

1 C all-purpose flour

1 C whole wheat flour

1 C rolled oats (not the quick kind)

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tb melted butter for brushing

 

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit – 5 – 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat – to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn’t steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Makes 1 loaf.

  

Pan-Fried Tofu and Watercress with Lemon Caper Sauce

Phew…long title.

Ok, let’s get ready folks.  It’s Monday, or maybe it’s Tuesday where you are.  Whatever the case may be Thanksgiving is right around the corner…ok, if you live in America…which not all of you do.  Ok, well anyway…I’m gearing up for Thanksgiving and you can come along, too.  

Let’s eat lots of buttery things, and stuffed things, and things smothered in gravy.  Then, for dessert, let’s have one of each.  Then, repeat.  The next day, eat a stuffing sandwich…mmmm.  

But, to do this, we must get ready.  We must prepare our minds, bodies, and souls.  This week, we eat Tofu.  Tofu and Oatmeal.  And, lots of spinach. 

But we’ll make it really tasty, so it will be ok.

Pan-Fried Tofu and Watercress with Lemon Caper Sauce

from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson (Great Cookbook)

1 16 oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Salt and pepper

2 Tb olive oil

1/4 C dry white wine

3 Tb fresh lemon juice

2 Tb capers, drained and chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed

1. Pat the tofu dry and season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and cook in batches until golden brown on both sides, 2-4 minutes per side.  Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers.  Simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 Tb oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the watercress and cook, stirring until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer the watercress to a serving platter or 4 individual plates and arrange the tofu on top.  Drizzle the sauce over the tofu and serve hot.

Meatless Monday: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

 

Before I jump into the recipe, I was pondering Meatless Monday.  Why is it important? Well, we all have families, loved ones, and people who we care for deeply.  They are the reason for Meatless Monday.  

The goal of Meatless Monday is to encourage healthy eating through vegetables and whole grains, so that we can take care of our bodies, and in turn, hopefully live longer and healthier for the ones we love.  I am encouraged by the fact that my two-year old loves Tofu and Edamame.  I count that as a major success!

I have two reasons for making Meatless Mondays a priority.  Here they are:

My babies!  Now, if they’d only stop growing up, that would be wonderful.

So, Meatless Monday…do it for yourself and  your family.  Your body will thank you.

I have tried to make many a veggie burger.  They are usually mushy and bland.  This one was neither.  The use of cashews and mushrooms gives it a meaty flavor without trying to replicate a real hamburger.  Give yourself about an hour for prep, but it is an hour you won’t regret.  Plus, you can freeze the ones you don’t use!  See notes at the end of recipe.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

From Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried brown lentils
3/4 cup bulgur
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp table salt
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup leek or scallion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light sour cream)
2 cups panko

Instructions: 
Bring lentils to boil in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until falling apart. Drain in a mesh strainer, dry and set aside. While lentils are cooking, boil 2 cups of water for bulgur, add bulgur and turn off heat. Let it cook until water is absorbed. Put bulgur aside. In a large pan, heat oil. Add onions, celery, garlic and leek or scallion, and cook for about 8 minutes. Set aside, then add mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, process cashews until fine. Combine cashews, lentils, and bulgur with cooled vegetables and cashews. Add mayonnaise. Food process (pulse) in batches until mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Stir in panko, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 12 patties. Cook on the grill or in a pan, about 5 minutes per side. 

**These freeze really well.  You can make them completely, but don’t cook.  If you’re going to freeze, add 1/2 tsp of panko bread crumbs for each patty you are planning on freezing.

 

Beef & Pumpkin Stew

So, this week’s Holiday Exchange Challenge was One Pot Meals.  I don’t really have too many of those.  I have some crockpot meals and a few casseroles, but not too many one pot recipes.  I have the usual chili and soups, but I wanted to do something a little different.  With that in mind, let me introduce you to my new friend.

 

I know, it’s not much to look at, but beauty is on the inside.

This week’s prize is a Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  I think I’d just be the happiest girl in the world if I won. 

I had mine with couscous (don’t be such a couch couscous, remember that commercial?  Anyone?), but my husband and I agreed, it would be much better with mashed potatoes.  Also, I didn’t have cardamom, so I used cinnamon.  Then, when I put it in bowls, I added a little dash of cinnamon into each bowl.  Also, I added a little more salt than the recipe called for, as it was a little on the bland side at first.   

This is a combination of two recipes.  One from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook and the other is Taste of Home.  Has anyone made the Taste of Home recipe?  It looks awesome! I just don’t have that kind of time on my hands 🙂 Check it out here.

What is your favorite one-pot meal?  I’m looking forward to getting some ideas over at Jamie’s page.

You should come too!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Le Creuset.

On a side note, I don’t know if anyone else saw this post, but you should definitely check it out.  It’s ingenious, and delicious.

Pumpkin & Beef Stew

Adapted from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook & Taste of Home

2Tb vegetable oil

1 1/2 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 rib celery, thinly sliced

1 green pepper, diced

1  tsp salt 

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cardamom (I used cinnamon)

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 C water 

1 Tb beef bouillion

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 lb fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3 inch chunks (you can use butternut squash, too)

2 Tb Lemon Juice

***1 Tb Cornstarch blended with 1/4 C water (I did not do this, and it turned out fine.  If you find your stew is too watery, you may want to add this)

In a Dutch Oven (hopefully my LeCreuset!), heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the beef, working in batches if neccessary, and cook until browned all over.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl.

Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the seasonings, and return beef to the pan.  Add the water, bouillion, and tomatoes.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.

Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer until the meat and pumpkin are tender, about 30 minutes.

***Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes.

 

Meatless Monday: Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh

This recipe was given to me by a great family friend, Mary Jane.  You should eat this for a few reasons.  

1.)  She has beautiful children, and you are what you eat…so…

2.)  This is a smart lady, and again…see above.

3.)  It is muy muy yummy.

4.) Tempeh costs under $3.00.  Chicken Breast can run you well over $6.  That’s double people!  I’m an Elementary School Teacher.  Give me a pat on the back, will ya?

The original recipe can be found here.

You will notice immediately that the pictures at 101 cookbooks are much better than mine, and you’ll then think…oh, that does look good.  Ok, I see what she was saying.  

 

I served mine with Kale and Brown Rice.  This is a super fast weeknight meal, so give it a try!  You’ll like it, I promise 🙂

Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lime
a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves

Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.

Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.

Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime, with the coriander scattered on top. Heidi note: As I mention in the head notes, I served this over some leftover wheat berries heated with a few handfuls of chopped kale.

Meatless Monday: Autumn Stuffed Acorn Squash

It’s funny how things happen.  I say that for two reasons.  First, I plan my menus for two weeks out, so that I go shopping on paydays and can just pick up little things on off weekends. So, I knew I’d be eating this two weeks prior.  Two weeks ago, it was 90 degrees.  Today, its rainy, 45 degrees, and I have our first fire of the season in my fireplace because I REFUSE to turn on the heat. So, an autumn meal should be in the works.

Second, I got one of those phone calls yesterday, that makes you stop and think.  My mom called me to let me know that my sister, and best friend, was in the hospital.  Her first news was that the doctor’s were doing tests, but that they didn’t know what was wrong with her.  Now, before everyone gets all worried, she was fine.  Just a bad stomach bug…I blame that pesky cantaloupe.  But, it did make me think, what would I do if she wasn’t around?  

People are in our lives for such a finite amount of time.  They can enter quickly, and leave just the same.  The call made me think about our daily phone calls, basement musicals, late night talks when all I wanted to do was go to bed, wedding planning, and so much more.  Its hard to imagine what life would be like without the most important people; the ones that make us who we are, that make us laugh and cry, happy and sad.  But, I guess that it is moments like that phone call, that make us come to that realization, for however fleeting it may be.  

I know that she will read this, so I just want to say, Callie, I love you 🙂  Your my best friend, and I am so happy to have you in my life.  Thanks for all of the times we’ve laughed together, danced together, sang together, and acted like morons in the name of having a good time.  I pray we have many more memories yet to come, and that they are equally as fabulous as those we’ve already shared.

You may be wondering what all this sisterly love has to do with Autumn Stuffed Squash.  Well, I’ll tell you, you lucky dog, you!  My sister has two favorite things.  At least, she did when she was 13.  She may have moved on to something else, but I’m stuck thinking that these are her favorites for eternity.  Her boyfriend will always love Oreos, even if he actually hates them.  I can’t imagine that he does, but I digress…

Her two favorite things are Squash and Goat Cheese.  And guess what!  This has them both!  WOAH!

I won’t bore you any longer with my rants and raves.  Here’s the recipe:

Autumn Stuffed Acorn Squash

Adapted from Kath Eats Real Food

Serves 2

1 Acorn Squash

1 C Wild Rice, prepared (if you don’t have Wild Rice, you should go get some.  Ok, fine, Brown Rice will work too)

1/2 C Chopped Walnuts

1/2 C Dried Cranberries

Pinch of Salt

Dash of Cinnamon

Pinch of Nutmeg

GOAT CHEESE, Yum! Crumbled, of course.

 

Preheat your oven to 375.

Slice your Squash in half, and scoop out the seeds.  

Put the acorn squash flat side down in 1/2 inch of water.  (This would be really good if you drizzled some olive oil on and sprinkled salt, put them flat side down, and roasted for 30-40 minutes, or until soft.  BUT in the name of cutting calories, and fat, we’ll do it this way.) Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until squash is soft.

Hidden Mickey!!

Mix your prepared rice, with the walnuts, cranberries, and spices.  When squash is done, fill the cups with the rice mixture, and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Enjoy!

Have a good Meatless Monday recipe? Please send me an email.  You can find my address at my contacts page!  Thanks!

 

Meatless Monday: Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

What is your key food?  The ingredient that catches your eye on a menu and makes you scream, “MMMM!!! I’m having that!!!”  For me, it’s Risotto.  For my sister, it’s Goat Cheese.  For my husband, I’m thinking its Onion Straws.  The boy will eat anything that has onion straws on it.  I once discovered him eating a can of French’s Fried Onions because it kinda tasted like onion straws.  

When I came across this recipe, I thought I have to have it.  Risotto with ANYTHING would make me happy!  And, since its Meatless Monday, we’re going to use Barley, instead of the traditional Arborio rice.  Let’s pause for a word about barley:

Fun Fact #1: In medieval Europe, Barley was considered a peasant food, while the upper class consumed only breads from wheats.

Fun Fact #2: Barley contains EIGHT amino acids

Fun Fact #3: Eating whole grain barley (like we’ll be doing in a moment) regulates blood sugar for up to 10 hours after consumption!

Fun Fact #3: Barley is in beer and beer is good.

Now, a discussion on Risotto..some of the key ingredients include wine and cheese.  I mean, really the only thing that could make this dish better is if you could some how get chocolate in the mix.  I know, I know that would be gross, but it’s an interesting concept, just the same.

So, with all this in mind, Barley Risotto makes the perfect dish for a Meatless Monday. 

 

 

Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

 

Adapted from JenMenke.com

For the Barley

1 C Barley

4 C Water

1 C dry white wine

2 tsp salt

 

To Complete the Dish:

2 C Butternut Squash, cubed and roasted

1 Tb Olive oil

1 small onion chopped

1/3 C dry white wine

1/2 C Parmesan Cheese

1 Tb fresh thyme

1 tsp saffron threads

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

 

To Roast Squash:

Preheat oven to 400

Peel and cube squash.  Place on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

 

For the Barley:

Bring the water, wine and salt to a simmer in a pot over medium-low heat.

 Add the barley, stirring frequently, and cook for an hour or until the barley is cooked through.

 

To Complete:

Place a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add a olive oil, then add chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. 

Add the white wine and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the wine reduces slightly.  Pour the barley and its liquid into the pan.  Add the cooked squash.  Add additional water or chicken broth to bring the risotto to preferred consistency.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, add spices.  Enjoy!

 

Zucchini Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

This is a good way to use up all that extra zucchini you may have lurking in your vegetable drawer, cabinets, tupperware, bedroom closets, and still hanging on the vine.  It also won’t kill you in the calorie department.  However, if you want an absolutely amazing zucchini bread recipe, it hands down belongs to Paula Deen.  I still have that chocolate cake in my fridge, however, and it would be very, very bad to make her recipe. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m regretting that I didn’t…oh well.  Here is a healthier version of zucchini bread, and still very tasty, just maybe not, as…

 

Zucchini Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

2 large eggs

1/2 C oil

1/2 C honey (use the same measuring cup as you did the oil, and the honey won’t stick)

1 tsp vanilla

1 C whole wheat flour

1/4 C toasted wheat germ

1 tsp cinnnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 C shredded zucchini

1/2 C cranberries, you can use raisins, if you’d rather

1/2 C walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 12 Cup muffin pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and add the egg mixture, stir until just combined.  Fold in zucchini and cranberries.  

Pour batter into muffin tins, and top with walnuts.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.