Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chik'n and Rice Soup

This is a very simple and savory soup that is easy to make and so nourishing. My husband, the resident meat eater, whipped this up tonight and it was a big hit for vegetarians and meaties alike.
Chik'n and Rice Soup
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 32 oz. box vegetable broth
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 carrots, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, celery, garlic and carrot in a few tbsp olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, thyme, bay, salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes. Just before serving, add in cubed tofu and cooked rice. To serve: place 1/4 cup of roughly chopped fresh spinach into each bowl and top with soup.

Veggie Burger Lettuce Wraps

Here at the good ol' Garrett house, we're trying to minimize our useless carbohydrate intake (in order to maybe lose a pound or two in the process). Living without tortilla chips and home-popped popcorn? It's been quite the challenge!

Veggie Lettuce Wraps

1 veggie burger
Sliced Tomato
2 big leaves of Red Leaf or Romaine lettuce
condiments of your choosing (we used relish and spicy mustard)
Cook veggie patty according to package instructions. Cut in half and top with tomato and condiments.

Then lay your burger and condiments on a piece of lettuce, wrapping the sides up and over the contents. Lay another piece of lettuce over top, tucking sides around the bottom. Stabilize the wrap with a toothpick. Eat, messily, with plenty of napkins! It's so good!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Artichoke Ravioli with Walnut Pesto

Not everything I make is 100% from scratch (I am a mom to three, afterall). So yesterday I pulled some artichoke ravioli out of the freezer and mixed up some pesto for a super quick family dinner.

Walnut Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh basil,packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix up everthing in your food processor. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix in several tbsp. of pesto and top with kalamata olives and parmesan cheese (optional). Serve with a BIG green salad!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vegetarian Chinese: Mongolian Eggplant and Lemon-Cashew Fried Rice

For years after I became a vegetarian, due to lack of access to meat-free restaurants, I chalked Chinese food up to "what I used to eat." My poor, meat-loving husband went right along with it, to his chagrin. Imagine his joy when I began dabbling in Chinese cooking. Since then, we've enjoyed many dishes and this is one of the favorites.

Mongolian Eggplant

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp chili sesame oil (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
3/4 cup sweetener of your choice (I used raw sugar)
1 large eggplant or several smaller Chinese eggplants
3 stalks of green onion, sliced in 1 inch sections
5 mushrooms, sliced
red pepper flakes
corn starch

In a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, saute garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add in soy sauce, water, sugar, chili oil and bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar. Remove from heat and set aside for later.

Meanwhile, cut eggplant into bite sized pieces and coat in a thin layer of cornstarch. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Heat a few tbsp of oil in a clean pan and saute eggplant and mushrooms until golden brown. Add in the sauce, green onion and a dash or two of red pepper flakes, simmer for about 2 minutes. Serve.

Lemon-Cashew Fried Rice

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots and/or frozen peas
1 egg (optional)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

Cook rice according to directions, at least two hours before you begin dinner. When done, place in fridge to cool.

When it's time to cook the fried rice, remove the rice from the fridge and set aside. Saute the vegetables and garlic for a few minutes. When the veggies begin to soften, add in the rice, soy sauce, lemon juice and egg. Stir until the egg is cooked. Serve with the mongolian eggplant.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Almond Butter Cookies

The weather is unusually foggy and gloomy out for this time of year. Cloudy days are my favorite, they make me want to stay in all day, whipping up breads, soups and treats. Today we had a fresh and green miso soup (that I forgot to photograph) and, on a whim, decided to follow it up with a batch of lovely almond cookies. They taste a bit like those almond-flavored sugar cookies, the ones that come in a pink box and have an almond pressed on top, but are much healthier. For fun we pressed a few raw cashews into about half the batch. The result was a not-too-sweet treat for a rainy day. The kids put on pajamas after lunch and everyone got down to the business of crafting, knitting and reading.

This version of the classic peanut butter cookie recipe uses almond butter instead, which lowers the overall sugar and fat content.

1 cup almond butter
1 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour (or more, if needed)
1 egg (or egg substitute)
1 tsp. baking soda

Combine ingredients and mix well. Almond butter is runnier than peanut butter, so add extra flour as needed.

Form dough into balls and roll them in a bit of sugar. Then place them on the pan, criss-cross them with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. The cookies will be VERY soft, so using a rubber spatula, remove them immediately and place on a cooler surface. They will firm up nicely, not too crispy, not too soft, just right.

** Alternative sweeteners like maple syrup or honey would be fabulous here. If you decide to use them you will probably need to add a bit more flour to hold it all together!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Artichoke and Olive Pasta Sauce

My family loves pasta but the kids really dislike pre-canned sauces. Over the years I've been able to whip up a quick, tasty sauce from a few things I always have on hand.

1 can olives

1 can artichoke hearts

handful of chopped basil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can stewed tomatoes, blended in food processor until smooth

Saute garlic, olives and artichokes in olive oil for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Then add basil and cook for another minute.

Add the pureed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes or so. Mix into cooked pasta of your choice and enjoy with a big salad!