Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spinach dal

Adapted from a Care2 recipe.

1 1/2 cups lentils
4 cups water
2 dried chiles, left whole
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chopped onions
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger root (plus a couple shakes of ginger powder)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Add washed lentils to a medium pot and cover with the four cups of water. Add the dried chiles, curry, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until lentils are very tender, about 35 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep lentils from sticking.
About 10 minutes from the end of the lentil cooking time, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Stir in onions, cumin and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Add spinach and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
When the lentils are cooked, remove the chiles and discard them. Add the onion-spinach mixture to the lentils, then add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
May be served on top of rice, or alongside bread.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Black-Eyed Pea and Sausage Soup

from "More Slow Cooker Recipes," published by Betty Crocker (2004)

You'll need a slow cooker that holds 3.5-4 quarts.

2 cans (15-16 oz each) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 package (16 oz) smoked turkey kielbasa sausage, cut lengthwise in half and then sliced
4 medium carrots, chopped (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries (couldn't find these, so we did it without them)
1 cup water
3 cans (14 oz) each beef broth (I used some low-sodium kind, some regular, it's what I had on hand)
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves (didn't have any, I used oregano)

Mix all ingredients except spinach and marjoram in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 8-9 hours or until wheat berries are tender.

Stir in spinach and marjoram. Cover and cook on low heat setting about 15 minutes or until spinach is tender.

Like I mentioned above, I did without the wheat berries and substituted oregano for marjoram. I think if I'd had wheat berries, it would have thickened it up a little, which would have been nice. Even so, it turned out well. Good flavor combo.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Vegetable beef soup

I really sort of just made this one up. It tastes good, though, and was really easy to make.

6-8 c. water
2 c. low sodium beef broth
1 packet beef-onion soup mix
2 beef shanks (with the bone)
Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour, or until the meat is really tender. Pull shanks out, and cut meat off the bone and into bite-sized pieces. Return to broth.
4-5 carrots, sliced
3-4 potatoes, peeled and diced
Cook until carrots and potatoes are soft. Then add:
1 bag frozen green beans
1 bag frozen corn
Cook until everything is hot.
If you put this in the fridge to serve the next day, you'll be able to skim off the fat that collects on the top.

Monday, January 15, 2007


adapted from Grazing

All these recipes were made for the potluck we had the other night. All took about 15 minutes to prepare, and were super easy.

1 10-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. light peanut butter or tahini
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Place garlic in food processor and chop finely. Add everything else but the salt and pepper and puree, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is right consistency. Add salt and pepper, and a little water if it's too thick.

Spinach and artichoke dip

adapted from Grazing

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed with excess moisture squeezed out
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped, liquid reserved
1 8-ounce package light cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1 c. lowfat sour cream
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray skillet with nonstick spray. Add the onions, garlic and a little artichoke liquid and saute until onion is brown. Add the spinach and saute until all the liquid has evaporated.
Reduce heat to low and add artichokes, cream cheese and milk. Cook, stirring, until the cheese melts. Stir in the sour cream, Parm cheese salt and pepper and cook until it's heated through.
Transfer to bowl and serve warm, or put in a pie plate, cover with the mozzarella cheese (or more Parm cheese) and bake 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

Wonton crisps

adapted from Grazing

I made these the day I was home from work, because they didn't require much effort, but were sort of time consuming. They are worth it, though.

Fresh wonton wrappers
Non-stick spray or canola oil
Garlic salt (or granulated garlic)
sesame seeds
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. (just wing it, it's what I did) Cut wontons diagonally into triangles, or across into strips, then separate them on a cookie sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick spray, or brush with canola oil. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture.
Bake for 5 minutes (mine took 10) or until deep golden and crisp. Watch carefully, because they darken fast.

Other possibilities for seasoning:

sugar and cinnamon
spicy curry -- curry powder, salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper
salt and pepper
garlic and salt

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Carrot Casserole

This came from an old (1970s) community cookbook that Geoff's mom has. This is what we brought to Shannon's potluck dinner tonight. Enjoy!

1 pound carrots
16 oz can crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cup pineapple juice + water
3 T cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar

Slice carrots and boil until tender. Drain pineapple, adding water to juice to equal 1 1/2 cups. Mix carrots and pineapple together in 1 1/2-quart greased casserole. Blend juice, cornstarch, and sugar. Add to casserole. Bake at 350 until juice is clear and it's slightly browned.*

* Mine took about 50 minutes, but I had a cookie sheet underneath the casserole dish, in case of spillage (no spillage occurred). Maybe that's why it took so long?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

lowfat cocoa fudge cookies

I read about these on a blog, but the recipe is actually from Cooking Light. I made them four times this holiday season, partly because I wanted to bring them different places and partly because I kept eating them faster than I could keep up with baking them. They're the most chocolatey cookies I've ever had -- I was using those Ghiardelli 60% cacao chips and Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder, which made it even more intense -- and they're outstanding. Not too sweet, just chocolate heaven.

One note about this recipe as written: It's tiny, only making about 12 medium-sized cookies that fit on a single baking sheet. Twelve of these cookies is not enough. I doubled, tripled and even quadrupled the recipe.

1 cup ap flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
7 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried tart cherries or chocolate chips (I did it once with the cherries and once with both -- good both times, but I prefer the straight chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in cocoa powder and sugars. Stir in yogurt and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix until just combined. Stir in cherries or chocolate chips, if using.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet (I sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with butter). Press down slightly to flatten; cookies do not spread a lot.

Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes or until set and slightly firm at the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (One more note -- it's a little hard to tell when they're done, because they don't really look different as they bake, and leaving them in too long makes them slightly less delicious than when they're soft. I gauged by looking closely at the middle of the cookie and the meltiness of any visible chocolate chips.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Slow cooker pot roast

I made this pot roast recipe yesterday, and it turned out to be the best slow cooker pot roast to date. Even the gravy was really good.

1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used low-sodium kind)
2 c. beef broth (either homemade or low-sodium)
1 package onion soup mix (Liptons)
1 pot roast (the roast I used was partially frozen, which is better if you're going to be cooking this a long time)

Mix soup, broth, onion soup in a bowl. Put roast in slow cooker, pour soup mixture on top. Cook at 6-8 hours, until roast is done. Take roast out, mix 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water and then add that to gravy in slow cooker, turn up to high. Cook about 5 min, so sauce thickens.

Easy as can be. The house smelled good when I walked in the door from work, and all I had to do was make some rice and roast some veggies. Good as leftovers, too.

Cuban-Spiced Chicken Thighs with Chorizo and Rice

From Bon Appetit, January 2007

My friend Tracy and I made this for dinner last night, and it was quite tasty. Tracy's Le Cruset French oven (5.5 qt) was perfect for this recipe. I would recommend serving with a crusty bread for sopping up the broth. The ingredient list is long, but most of it is spices and things you probably have on hand (rice, etc).

Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp finely grated lime peel
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp chopped seeded jalapeno chile
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground alspice
10 chicken thighs with skin and bone (about 4 1/2 pounds)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb fully cooked Spanish chorizo or Portuguese linguica sausage links, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (we used some homemade bratwurst that Tracy had)

2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or short-grained white rice
2 1/2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth (Tracy must have used a lot more, because the final dish was very brothy-enough to soak up with bread)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 tsp saffron threads (we didn't use this)

1/2 cup corsely chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Whisk first 11 ingredients in medium bowl for marinade. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag; turn several times to coat chicken. Refrigerate chicken at least 4 hours and up to 1 day, turning bag occasionally. Using tongs, transfer chicken from bag to plate, allowing excess marinade to drip back into bag. Reserve marinade.

heat 1 Tbsp oil in heavy large wide pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and saute until beginning to brown and fat begins to render, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to medium bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Add half of chicken, skin side down, to pot. Saute until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Pour off all but 3 Tbsp of fat from the pot. Discard excess fat. Add chopped onions; saute for 4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add chopped bell pepper and chopped garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Mix in rice, stirring to blend with vegetables. Add 2 1/2 cups broth, tomatoes and any juice, paprika, saffron, and reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, stirring to blend. Return chicken, chorizo and any accumulated juices to the pot, pressing chicken partially into the rice.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes, until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if rice is dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer rice and chiken to large shallow bowl. Garnigh with Cilantro and lime wedges and serve.