Thursday, February 28, 2008

Middle-Eastern Rice and Lentils

So easy to make and so tasty :) I skipped the onions at the end just because I got distracted and didn't make them in time... ooops!

This makes enough for 4

1 cup lentils
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup rice
2 cups water or additional veggie stock
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup onion, chopped

1. Bring the lentils, bay leaf, cumin, tomatoes, pepper, and vegetable stock to a simmer over high heat in a saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir, cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and have absorbed the liquid, 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove the bay leaf.

2. Cook the rice according to package directions.

3. While the rice is cooking, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Place the rice on a plate; put the lentils on top of the rice and the onion on top of the lentils. Serve hot.

Sundried Tomato and Olive Ravioli

This is the vegetarian version of the ravioli I made. I really made this up as I went..! It was very tasty, I'll definitely make it again! One thing I'll do next time is roll the pasta even thinner. It was a little thick when it all came together.

The pasta recipe uses the KA mixer and pasta roller attachments. I'm sure this pasta recipe could be used with any pasta roller that you have (you could probably even roll it out the old-fashioned way with a rolling pin - I'm just lazy!) ;)
Pasta Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt

Pasta Method:
1. Place the eggs, water, whole wheat flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the bowl and flat beater to the mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds.

2. Exchange the flat beater for the dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and hand-knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces before processing with the pasta roller attachment.

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 pound fat-free cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/8 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 egg white to seal

Filling Method:
1. Mix the cheeses, egg yolk, and seasonings in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and olives. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

3. Process the pasta with a flat pasta sheet roller until it is as thin as possible. Keep pasta strips covered with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out prematurely.

4. Spoon teaspoons of filling onto one strip of pasta. Dip a pastry brush in the egg white and brush it around each spoonful of filling. Place a second sheet of pasta over the filled sheet and press down firmly to seal. Use a fluted pastry wheel or knife to cut the ravioli. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

5. Place the ravioli on trays lined with clean dish towels and let them dry for no longer than 3-4 hours. Turn occasionally.

6. To cook - bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Slide the ravioli into the water. Cover the pan and cook 3-5 minutes once the water has returned to a boil, stirring gently. Taste for doneness.

Serve with marinara (I used the red wine marinara from this blog) and some grated Parmesan cheese.

I used several different recipes as a base for this one. I started with the recipe for Whole Wheat pasta from the little recipe book that came with the KitchenAid Pasta Sheet Roller and Cutter set. I also used a ravioli recipe from Pasta Recipes and Techniques which was published by the Cooking Club of America.

Polenta with Tomato-Braised Beans

The tomato-braised beans part of this recipe was amazing! So tasty :) In fact, they were a really nice replica of the green beans that are served at my favourite Greek restaurant (only not with green beans... lol)
The polenta, on the other hand, really left a lot to be desired! Maybe I made too much? It was just really boring... I think I need to add some Parm to it next time! That might help! :) This topping would also be yummy on pasta.

Serves 2


1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coarse yellow dry polenta
Margarine or butter

You will want to start cooking the polenta first since it takes a while!
Bring 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
Uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes; uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add a little amount of butter or margarine to the cooked polenta.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add parsley and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add sage and tomatoes; cook 12 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and beans to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve the polenta topped with the bean mixture.

This recipe came from the January 2008 issue of Cooking Light Magazine.
I really didn't change much this time since I'd never made polenta before! I did add a little margarine and will try adding some Parmesan next time around.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekly Menu - February 24-March 1

Oops... forgot to post the menu for this week :)

Sunday: Ravioli with home-made red wine marinara

Tuesday: Polenta with tomato-braised beans for me! A side of sauteed zucchini. DH is having a pork chop and a baked potato; probably some broccoli as well.

Wednesday: It's fend-for-yourself night since I have a late staff meeting at work.

Thursday: Minestrone for me; DH is having beef stew.

Friday: I think we are going out... if not, it will be fajitas for DH and Anthos lentil soup for me.

Saturday: I think a burger with blue cheese for DH and Middle-Eastern rice and lentils for me; salad on the side for both of us.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Yes, I am sure that photo will win me a spot on the Ugly Food blog... ugh! Talk about someone with too much time on their hands! lol...

Rajmah is a kidney bean curry dish - it can be made vegan if you use soy plain yogurt (feel free to sub regular plain yogurt for a non-vegan meal - it will still be vegetarian).
It isn't much to look at but it smells and tastes great! It has this wonderful almost fruity flavour which is making me wish I'd added chopped apples and raisins to it like I do a regular curry. Idea for next time I guess. :) It's nice and spicy, too!

The rice and beans, by the way, are complementary proteins so this is an excellent dish for vegetarians since it provides all the necessary protein types (I used to know what those were..!) Figured I'd use that "teachable moment" for a small nutrition lesson. :)

Another meal I wish I had some naan (sp?) bread to go with!

2 servings

1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 tsp. canola or olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tbsp. plain soy yogurt or regular plain yogurt for a non-vegan dish
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground ginger or 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
**ooh, it also called for salt but I missed that... seem to do that a lot! You won't miss it if you forget it! There are so many other wonderful flavours going on :)

1. In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the onion in 1/2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Push the onions to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tsp. oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin and mix well. Add the coriander, curry, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook the spices for just a little bit and then mix them with the onions.

2. Reduce the heat and add the tomato paste, yogurt, garlic, and ginger. Stir and simmer for about 2 minutes. Mash about 1/4 of the kidney beans and add them, along with the other beans, and the water to the pan. Stir and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. For a thicker sauce, cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve over rice.

I found this recipe in a cookbook one of the moms at work gave me :) So nice of her! It's a book that was compiled by the mothers in her playgroup (The San Diego North County Attachment Playgroup) so I'm sure it's not readily available but here's the information on it anyway!
Fresh Mamas: Whole Cooking for Our Whole Families (2007 Cookbook). Edited by Carol Jefferies and Jenny Kim. San Diego, CA.
Yeay! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"A Few of my Favourite Things" Pasta

Holy hell, this is good :) And the best part - it was super quick to make! Not sure how healthy it is with all that goat cheese but we'll just say the broccoli, beans, and whole-wheat pasta balance that out :) It's definitely full of protein so great for vegetarians!
This has so many of my favourite things in it - pasta, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, walnuts... mmm :)

Can I just say how much I do not miss meat... not at all! I might just stay vegetarian after Lent. :) Well, it is a bit of a PITA to have to cook two things every night so maybe I'll just be a once-in-a-while meat eater ;) Hee hee, I have a vegetarian cookbook - The Occasional Vegetarian, I could be "the occasional carnivore."

This made 2 very generous servings (guess what I'm having for lunch tomorrow?)

4 oz. whole-wheat rotini pasta (or another pasta with ridges - penne would also work)
2 cups small broccoli florets (you could sub fresh spinach if you like)
1/2 (14.5 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (you could sub black or kidney beans)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped soft goat cheese, divided (feta would also work)
A small sprinkle of chopped walnuts

You just have to love 2-step meals! :) So quick and easy!
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain and return to the pot. **If you choose to use spinach, do not add it until the last minute! Just toss it in with the rest of the ingredients right at the end.

2. Meanwhile, cook all the remaining ingredients except the cheese in a large skillet over medium heat. It only needs about 3 minutes for the ingredients to warm through. Stir occasionally while they cook. Toss the pasta with the olive and tomato mixture as well as 3/8 cup cheese; sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 cup cheese and the walnuts. Enjoy :)

Great with a big glass of red wine; but isn't everything? :)

Based on the Italian Pasta with Beans recipe from the Feb/March 2008 issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice, Spinach, and Cheese

I've made stuffed tomatoes before and LOVED them but wanted a vegetarian version I can eat now... the others had turkey. These were so tasty. I started with a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook and tweaked a couple things.
Here's what I changed:

*Brown rice in place of white rice
*Spinach in place of Swiss chard
*Goat cheese in place of cheddar (if you use cheddar, sprinkle it on the tomatoes after they cook instead of mixing it in. Raise the temperature to broil and give them a couple minutes under the broiler. Watch them! The cheese will burn quickly).
*Walnuts in place of pine nuts

*Onion in place of shallots
*I also added some sun-dried tomatoes

*Argh! These were so pretty! I didn't get any decent photos... :( Oh well, you sort of get the idea!

Makes 6 stuffed tomatoes (I only made two but the measurements would be all wonky if I started dividing everything by 3 and posting it here!)

6 medium-large sized tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup washed, chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped soft goat cheese
1/8 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cut a 1/2-inch slice from the top of each tomato. Scoop out the seeds and pulp carefully (I ran a knife around the inside like you would a grapefruit). Leave the shell intact. If you'd like, you can sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with a little salt (I totally missed this - shows how much I pay attention to recipes! - and didn't miss the salt... I really don't think you need it). Turn the tomatoes upside down on some paper towels or a plate to drain while you prepare the stuffing.

3. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat for one minute. Add the oil and onions, reduce the heat to low. Saute until the onion is soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and saute until wilted, 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and mix the rice, spinach mixture, soy sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, goat cheese, and oregano together.

4. Stuff the tomatoes with the spinach and rice mixture and place them in a shallow greased baking dish. Leave a little space in between them.

5. Bake, uncovered, until the tomatoes are cooked through, 10-12 minutes (I think mine had more like 15). Serve immediately.

**I really wanted mine with some sauteed zucchini but my zucchini wasn't any good anymore :( I did made some roasted red potatoes which were equally yummy! Hello starch overload, though! lol :)

Based on the Tomatoes Stuffed with Swiss Chard, Rice, and Cheese recipe from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Grilled Eggplant Rolls

So I didn't actually go outside and grill the eggplant - I just did it under the broiler! I do love grilled veggies, though, so this one will be made again once it's a bit warmer in the evenings! :) Mmmm, I can't wait for grilling season to begin! One of the benefits of living in San Diego - it starts earlier than lots of other places!

I had decided to make DH these yummy chicken breasts that are stuffed with cheeses for dinner tonight so I was glad to see this eggplant dish almost matched! The combination of tangy sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and olives was wonderful with the mild eggplant!

The recipe stated that you can use the stuffing as an appetizer on those little crispy toast things. I bet it would also be awesome on some crusty French or Italian bread or even some toasted rye! Yum! Have to remember that if I ever have the wine-cheese-chocolate party I keep saying I'm going to host. :)

For a non-vegetarian meal, you could use the stuffing on chicken breasts. Pound thin, grill, spread with cheese stuffing, enjoy! Gotta love versatile recipes!

This is enough for 5 - I divided the recipe by 3 since it was just me eating it. I had mine with broccoli and rice.

Rosemary-Goat Cheese Stuffing
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed or 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 tbsp. minced black olives (I actually used kalmata olives)
1 1/2 tbsp. diced sun-dried tomatoes

1-2 medium eggplants sliced lengthwise into 1/4-1/3-inch pieces
Sea salt
Olive oil for brushing eggplant
**I apparently suck at slicing eggplant so I used 1/2 eggplant (it was probably a 1/2 pound eggplant). The recipe says someone with some knife skills could get 15 center slices from 2 eggplants.**

1. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with sea salt and allow them to drain on paper towels for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.

2. To make the stuffing, combine the 1 tsp. olive oil, rosemary, goat cheese, cottage cheese, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. This can be done up to one day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

3. Preheat either the grill or broiler. Grill the eggplant until you get some nice grill marks and the vegetable is cooked through (2-4 minutes per side depending how thick you cut it).

4. Spread 1 tbsp. of the stuffing on each slice of eggplant. Roll the eggplant slices starting from the smaller end. Serve warm.

I really didn't change much from the original recipe. I just used dried rosemary instead of fresh (just gave it a good crush with the mortar and pestle!) and did not use oil-packed tomatoes which were called for in the original recipe. Mine were just dried and packaged.
The original recipe came from Karen Lee's book The Occasional Vegetarian - Warner Books, 1995.

My grad school teachers would have a heart attack if they saw me doing a reference that looked like that! lol ;)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Curried Couscous with Vegetables & Chickpeas

I love all things curry so this was right up my alley! This could be a main dish or a side with some chicken/shrimp or even a veggie soup. I just had it by itself. Very flavourful and the peas added a nice crispiness to it :)
I just remembered I had some yummy mango chutney in the fridge that would have been wonderful with this... oh well, next time!

Hubby, who will not try my vegetarian delights, kept saying how yummy this smelled. Bet he wishes he wasn't so stubborn - I would have shared :) My kitchen does have a great "Indian restaurant smell" I just hope that goes away before tomorrow... lol

I only changed a few things from the original recipe. Here they are:

*Ground ginger in place of fresh (my grocery store never seems to have fresh when I need it!)
*Onion in place of shallots
*Sugar snap peas in place of snow peas (again, couldn't find them. The sugar snaps added a nice sweetness which contrasted well with the curry)

Serves 2-3 as a main dish

Olive oil
1/2 tbsp. curry powder
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/8 tsp. ground ginger (um, I knew I should have writt
en this down! I can't remember if I used 1/8 or 1/4 tsp... either way, I couldn't really taste it over the curry powder)
1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and

1. In a wok or small skillet, heat 1/2-1 tsp. olive oil over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the curry powder. Set aside.

2. Bring 1 cup of vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add the curried olive oil mixture and stir. Add the couscous, stir, and cover immediately. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.

3. While the couscous sits, place a wok or skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and the onion. Reduce heat to medium and stir-fry until the onion softens. I did this in the same skillet I used to heat the oil and curry powder in step 1. It gave the veggies a great curry flavour (which may explain why I couldn't taste the ginger! lol)

4. Add the carrot and ginger; stir-fry 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms; stir-fry 1 minute. Add the peas and stir-fry 1 more minute.

5. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup veggie broth, salt, and pepper in a saucepan. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.

6. Combine the couscous, vegetables, and chickpeas with the seasoned broth. Serve hot.

Mmmm... wish I'd had some of that Indian flat bread to go with it (again, next time!) ;)

This is based on the Curried Couscous with Vegetables and Chickpeas recipe from the book The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee.


I got tagged by two different people :) Does that mean I have to come up with ten things about myself instead of just five?! I'm sure I could :) Hee hee
I've probably said all these same things every time I've been tagged.. oh well :)

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1. I grew up in England which is why you may see words spelled funny on here :) Yes, I know the American spellings, I just prefer to stick to my roots when it's not something I'm being graded on! hee hee! I actually get to go back to the UK for the first time in 11 years (I've been living in San Diego for 17) in July. I am super excited about it! It has been way too long since I've been back!

2. I'm a teacher but I don't actually teach in a classroom anymore! I work for a public charter school and my students are all home-schooled. Even though my teaching credential is for K-6, I get to work with kids in grades K-12 since it's considered "self-contained." It's so much fun - really flexible and I really get to know each of the students. Plus, it's so nice to actually feel appreciated by their parents! :)

3. Speaking of teaching, I'm working on my Masters degree in teaching with an emphasis in educational technology. I love school and it's a good thing since this is a LOT of work! I'm a little more than halfway done - I have 2 more classes after the 1 I'm currently in (done at the end of Feb) and then my thesis class which is some 3-month hellish thing. Yeay - looking forward to that! lol :) I actually really like writing so it shouldn't be too bad... I hope! The ed. tech. classes are my favourites - I've done stuff like build course websites (full online courses!) and create web-quests which are so fun to use with elementary and middle-school kids! So practical :)

4. When I'm not working or doing school stuff (or cooking!) one of my favourite hobbies is photography. I took a couple classes years ago at the community college level (just for the heck of it sort of thing) and fell in love with it! I've actually had cameras since I was very young and have always enjoyed screwing around with them but never really did anything serious with it until I was in high school. My school had a great dark room and I actually learned to develop my own film - that's an experience I recommend you have before you die! :) Totally smelly (and I'm sure those chemicals aren't good for you!) but fun!
A couple years after I finished my BA/teaching credential, I took 2 community college photography classes. One was just a basic 35mm class and the other was creative photography. We used slide film for both classes so I have all this trivia in the back of my head about which films are good for which environments! lol
I actually shot a friend's wedding about a year before my own (totally shocked at how well the prints came out!) and like to do lots of artsy-fartsy stuff.. I really need to start getting back into that!
Oh, and on a side note - I can't stand digital photography! I'm such an old-fashioned film gal! :) I think it's half related to my lack of a decent digital camera... I'm sure my blog would look a gazillion times better if I had that Nikon D80 I've had my eye on ;)

Forgot what number I was on ;)
5. I would seriously love to learn to make my own home-brewed beer! No, I'm not kidding! :) I love wine but have never been accused of knowing anything about it - I can never distinguish flavours in wine or any of that. I do like drinking it, though! Beer, on the other hand... I am quite the beer snob! I love local beers and all those artsy micro-brews and I totally think fizzy yellow beer (ie: Bud, Miller, Coors.. you know, college beer!) is just nasty! Totally un-drinkable... in fact, I'm not even sure I drank that crap in college! lol ;) See... beer snob! Maybe it's the Brit in me - I think I have beer running through my veins but I just think it's hard to beat a really good pint!

I wasn't kidding when I said I like to write, was I?! :)

I have no idea who I'm going to tag... Let me check my blog list and I'll come back and add some names and links!

Cheers! ;)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Flowers :)

They really aren't all yellow-y! That's just my crummy camera phone :) lol

Total surprise from DH yesterday!

Menu - February 16-22

Saturday - Curried couscous with vegetables and chickpeas
Tacos for hubby

Sunday - Stuffed grilled eggplant rolls
Stuffed chicken for hubby
Brown sugar glazed carrots

Monday - Stuffed tomatoes
I'm going to be nice and get a steak for DH! :)
Oven roasted potatoes

Tuesday - Mixed vegetables al forno, couscous
Tuna melts and salad for hubby

Wednesday - Tofu stir-fry, rice
Burger, chips, salad for DH

Thursday - Italian pasta with beans
Pasta with marinara and Italian sausage

Friday - Rajmah and rice
Oven-fried chicken, green beans for DH

Cloud Lime

**I do have plans to take a photo of this! I got a bit impatient and didn't let it chill long enough before tasting it so there was no way I was going to take a photo of not-fully-set pie! ;) I'll try again today...
It's super yummy! (even if it wasn't quite ready!)

My original plan was to make this for Valentine's Day dessert... but then I read the recipe Thursday morning and realized it needed to refrigerate overnight! lol :)
The original recipe was called "Key Lime Cloud Pie," I just changed the name to make a play on that and cloud nine.

Warning - this has like 50g of fat per serving (eek!) so it will only be a once-in-a-while treat..! ;)

8 servings

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I got the low-fat ones... like that will make a difference with all the eggs, butter, and cream!)
3 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

4 egg yolks
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar, divided
1/3 cup key lime juice (you will need a lot of key limes!)
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. grated lime peel, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1. Combine graham cracker crumbs and 3 tbsp. sugar in a small bowl. With a fork, stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate.

2. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lime juice, and 1 tbsp. of the lime peel in a large bowl. Create a double-boiler by placing the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; stir the mixture until the butter melts and sugar dissolves.

4. Gradually whisk 1/3 cup of the juice mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk the whole thing back into the juice mixture. Cook over saucepan of simmering water until the mixture thickens and the temperature reaches 165 degrees-170 degrees F. **The original recipe said 4-5 minutes! Ha! I stood there for ages waiting for it to reach temp. but you can't be impatient since it's raw eggs...*

5. Pour the lime mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or until chilled.

6. Beat 1 1/2 cups of the cream in a large bowl at medium-high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form. Gently fold into the cooled lime mixture. Spoon into the pie crust and smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

7. Up to 3 hours before serving, beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream with remaining 2 tsp. sugar in a medium bowl at medium-high speed. Pile whipped cream over the top of the pie. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. peel.
Store the pie in the refrigerator.

The original recipe (I didn't make any changes) came from Cooking Pleasures Magazine (February/March 2008).

Cheese and Vegetable Enchiladas

I love enchiladas and usually make them with chicken but since I gave up meat for Lent, I decided to try throwing together a vegetarian version. These were really good! I might just make these for myself from now on. :)

Makes 2-3 large enchiladas (depending on how much you stuff in the tortillas! They make good left-overs!)

**I didn't take a photo because, from the outside, they looked exactly like the chicken ones I made DH! (ooh, actually, these ones didn't have the cilantro on the top... other than that, they look exactly like the linked ones ;)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped (red or white)
1 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
3/8 tsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 of a fresh tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup black beans (I used the canned ones - drain and rinse)
1/4 cup corn kernels (I used frozen - just dump them in!)
1/8 cup black olives, sliced
1/8 cup bell peppers, diced
4 button mushrooms, chopped
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup enchilada sauce
2-3 flour tortillas
1 tbsp. water

1. Heat oven the 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/4 cup of cheese, parsley, oregano, and black pepper. Stir until the cheese melts. Stir in canned and fresh tomato, black beans, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, corn, jalapeno, water, and chili powder.

3. Roll even amounts of the mixture into the tortillas. Arrange in a baking dish. Cover enchiladas with enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tomato-Parmesan Strata

I'd never made, or even tried, a strata until tonight so I really wasn't sure what to expect! The ingredients in the recipe I used all sounded yummy so I figured I'd try it out. It was a success and this has officially been added to the "vegetarian meals to eat when DH isn't here" rotation. ;)
I also got to "baptize" my Le Creuset oval baking dish that I got for Christmas so that was a nice little bonus!

The original recipe was from Cooking Light but I changed just a couple things. Those changes included subbing broccoli for the spinach (out of spinach) adding mushrooms, and using 2 whole eggs in place of the 1 egg plus 3 egg whites (I admit, I was being lazy!)
Here's my version.

Serves 2 (yum - I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!)

2 slices whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup broccoli florets
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
3-4 white button mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the bread cubes in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender. Add the broccoli and garlic; saute an additional minute or two. Remove from heat.

4. Combine thyme, salt, black pepper, and eggs in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Stir in the broccoli mixture, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish; sprinkle with cheese.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until set. Yummy with a salad.

The original recipe was from the June 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Orange-Cranberry Wheat Germ Muffins

My goodness, these are tasty! I've sort of nicknamed them "Super-Food Muffins" since they are packed with antioxidants from the fruits and vitamin E and folic acid from the wheat germ. :)

I wanted to try these out since I love all combinations of orange and cranberry and thought they would be a yummy breakfast treat. The nutmeg and cinnamon add a nice spiciness which goes great with the fruity flavours.
I'm very lucky to have parents with a great organic garden who live very close by so I had lots of yummy navel oranges that I got to use in these! Mmmm...

The recipe is from Cooking Light but I changed them a bit. I made these vegan by substituting mashed-up bananas for the eggs. I also used apple-sauce in place of the oil but feel free to use eggs and oil if you'd like. Either way, they are super-healthy.

They are very good warm so plan on giving them a quick zap in the microwave the next morning :) Or just eat them all fresh from the oven! hee hee ;)

12 muffins

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (the original recipe called for raw but I used the toasted stuff) - it adds a great nutty flavour
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown)
1/4 cup apple-sauce or canola oil
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 banana, well mashed or 2 eggs
Cooking spray
1 tbsp. turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (original said 375 but I bake everything at 350!)
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or fill wells with paper or foil cupcake holders.

2. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

3. Combine brown sugar, oil or applesauce, orange rind, juice, and eggs in a separate bowl; stir with a whisk.

4. Add the juice mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle the batter with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

The original recipe is from the January/February 2008 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Vegetable-Bean Soup

**Excuse the really yellow photos! I had to take them with my phone and I think the flash is a bit funny...**
This is one of the yummy vegetarian recipes I've had tagged for a while! I guess one good thing about Lent is that I'm finally getting to try them all :) I found the original recipe for this in a magazine - the original actually called for chicken broth but I switched that out for veggie broth. It also mentioned you can the soup with a little grated Parmesan - it's a vegan recipe if you leave the cheese off.
You can use whatever veggies you have on hand. I thought about adding some mushrooms and sweet corn but completely forgot - next time! Add those at the last minute with the spinach, salt, and pepper if you do any "softer" veggies like that. Carrot or celery could be added with the squash so it will have time to soften.


Enough for 6 (I made the whole recipe - I'll freeze the leftovers)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive)

1 large onion, chopped (can I just say thank God for food processors! lol)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cubed squash - I used half zucchini, half something else - I think it was an acorn squash (long, thin, light yellow - I'm a bit squash-illiterate!)
1 32-oz can/box vegetarian vegetable broth
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 10-oz package frozen spinach

1 15-oz can cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook 4-6 minutes until soft. Stir frequently.

2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the squash, broth, tomatoes, thyme, and oregano. Increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

3. Stir in all remaining ingredients and simmer five minutes until heated through.

Here's the non-vegan version with cheese ;)

The original recipe is from the October/November 2005
issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Weekly Menu

Here's my all-vegetarian menu for the week of February 10-15 - I'll also post what I'll make for the meat-eater ;)

Sunday - Chunky Vegetable-Bean Soup; Hubby will have chili with beef. I have some cornbread in the freezer which I think will go great with my soup so I'll warm that up, too.

Monday - Tomato and Parmesan Strata, salad, cooked baby carrots. Margarita salmon, salad, carrots for hubby (actually, carrots do not go with that salmon at all! I'll have to come up with plan B).

Tuesday - Cheese enchiladas for me (I'll probably add bell peppers, tomato, etc to fill up with something other than cheese); chicken enchiladas for hubby. Probably a salad with those.

Wednesday - Calzones made with Trader Joe's pizza dough. This will be my first attempt at calzones so I'm excited :) I'm going to make home-made sauce and fill mine with cheese, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Hubby will have pepperoni, cheese, and turkey (shhh! He doesn't have to know it's turkey!) Italian sausage.

Thursday - I'm stealing someone's idea for Valentine's Day dinner :) I'm afraid I didn't write down the name but it was a woman on the Nest. I thought this had to be about the cutest thing ever... Living Room Picnic :) We will have crusty breads, cheeses, some nice deli meats for hubby, grapes, strawberries (I may make some chocolate-covered ones if I'm feeling adventurous), crunchy veggies, and some champagne. I'm also planning a key-lime pie for dessert.

Friday - Cannelloni with salsa verde for me. No clue what hubby will have :) Maybe tacos...

Portobello Parmesan

So I gave up meat for Lent this year. I'm Episcopalian (I was raised in the Church of England) so I'm really only "Catholic Light" but I do Lent every year. :) It's really only hard since my husband is such a carnivore - sort of tough to come up with two things to make every night (there are weeks I have a hard time just coming up with one thing! Oh well... we'll see if I last 40 days! :) Oh the other hand, this is a great reason to try all these yummy vegetarian recipes I've pulled out of magazines and cookbooks!

Serves 1 (you could always double, triple, whatever it)

1-2 portobello mushroom caps (I only made one since I had a HUGE lunch and wasn't very hungry. I think next time I'll make two).
Cooking spray
Marinara sauce (I used the recipe I have in this blog - I make a ton at a time and freeze it so I always have it available)
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup mozzarella cheese
*The original recipe calls for salt and pepper to sprinkle on the mushrooms before adding the sauce/cheese. I completely forgot but didn't miss it so I've left it off this version. :)

1. Preheat broiler

2. Remove the brown gills from the undersides of the mushroom(s) using a spoon; discard the gills. Place the mushroom caps, undersides down, in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Broil for 5 minutes.

3. Turn mushroom caps over and top with marinara sauce (you probably one need a couple tablespoons) and the cheese. Broil 3 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

Serve with hot spaghetti and additional marinara sauce.

Adapted slightly from the Portobello Parmesan recipe from the October 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Better-Than-Sex Cake

Well, I'm not sure I'd say it was that good! ;) This was another thing I decided to try out for the Superbowl party. Again, I got this from a post someone left on the Nest but I can't remember her name (same person who posted the crack dip last week - they were in the same post!) Oh well... I was never accused of being perfect ;)

Here's how I made it (it is slightly different to the original version)

1 chocolate cake (recipe below)
3/4 cup caramel topping (I used jarred caramel ice-cream topping. I'll try just melting some caramels and using those next time)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk (I'm really not sure why I needed this. I'm going to skip it next time)
1 Symphony bar - the one with toffee bits and almonds
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Bake chocolate cake according to recipe below.

2. Leave the cake in the baking pan. While it is still warm, poke small holes in the cake using a toothpick. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cake.

3. Let the cake stand to cool. Whip up the heavy whipping cream and then coat the top of the cake with the whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped up pieces of the chocolate bar.

4. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the cake. It's great with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream :)

Here's the chocolate cake recipe I used. It's the cake base from "Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting" from the Land O'Lakes Baking book.

1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Grease and lightly flour a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (a lasagna dish works perfectly!)

2. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl. Beat until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well-mixed. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to butter mixture alternatively with the milk (I put all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then added the dry and the milk a little at a time). Beat just until blended.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.