Monday, April 17, 2017

Make-Fast Mondays: Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea and Spinach Soup

Looking for a quick, vegetarian-friendly dinner that’s both filling and flavorful? Give this lentil soup a go.

Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea and Spinach Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk
2 cups chopped baby spinach
Salt, to taste
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat oil in large pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté over medium for 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add curry paste, bay leaf, lentils and broth to pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then bring the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir in coconut milk and spinach. Simmer for a couple minutes until spinach is wilted. Season soup with salt, and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

When it comes to comfort food, you can’t beat a pot pie. A curry-coconut sauce and puff-pastry crust make this pot pie extra special.

Chicken Curry Pot Pie 
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can reduced-fat coconut milk
Salt, to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are cooked but still a little firm. Drain pot.

While potatoes and carrots are cooking, melt butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add curry powder, chicken, peas and coconut milk to skillet and simmer until mixture is warm. Add cooked potatoes and carrots to skillet and stir so everything is mixed. Season with salt to taste and remove skillet from heat.

Roll puff pastry on a lightly floured surface so it’s big enough to cover the skillet (if necessary). Drape puff pastry over the skillet and trim excess. Use a knife to cut a couple vents in the pastry.

Put skillet in the oven and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Make-Fast Mondays: Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens

Making this meal won't take much time, but it will take up some space on your stove -- you’ve got the grits going in one pan, you’re frying eggs in another, and using a third pan to cook the sausage and greens. But trust me, it’s worth having to clean a few dirty dishes.

Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens 
Serves 4
3 cups lowfat milk
¾ cup quick-cooking grits
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
2 tablespoons olive oil
14-ounce smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and leaves cut into thin strips
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ -½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice preference)
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
Garnishes: Salt and pepper, Tabasco sauce

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the grits. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grated cheese and stir grits until cheese has melted into the grits. Cover and remove from heat.

While grits are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or skillet. Add sausage and cook until browned, 4-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage from pan to a plate.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in same frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute, until fragrant. Add collard greens, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Cook greens, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until greens are just wilted but still bright green.

Just before serving, melt butter over medium heat in a large nonstick pan. Crack eggs into the hot pan and cook until the eggs have reached desired consistency. I cooked mine for 3 minutes, until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny. Divide grits among four bowls. Top each bowl with greens, sausage and a fried egg. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce as desired.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole

The next time you feel like cooking a cozy dinner without spending too much time in the kitchen, give this delicious casserole a try. Use an oven-proof skillet or frying pan if you’ve got one to save yourself some time when cleaning up!

Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole 
1 cup dried bulgur
2 cups water
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
8 ounces canned diced green chiles
12 ounces salsa verde
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of aged white cheddar and pepper jack)
Possible garnishes: avocado, cilantro, green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain off any extra liquid.

While bulgur is cooking, combine combine chicken, salsa and chiles and in a skillet or frying pan. Warm the chicken mixture up over medium heat. Stir in cooked bulgur until everything is mixed. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to an ovenproof dish if needed. Top with shredded cheese, cover with aluminum foil or an oven-proof lid, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top with garnishes, and serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Olives

We recently had a fantastic dinner at Mill Valley Beerworks. Everything was clean-the-plate delicious but one dish that I truly couldn’t get enough of was a beet salad with feta and olives. I do love beets in a salad, but this was the first time I’d had them with olives -- it's a great slightly-sweet-and-salty combo. This is my attempt to recreate it at home.

Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Olives 
1 pound beets, roots and stems trimmed
⅓ cup raw, unsalted pistachios
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from half an orange)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cups arugula
2 ounces crumbled feta
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet loosely in aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the beets in the oven and roast until tender when poked with a fork, 60-90 minutes (depending on how big your beets are). Remove beets from oven and set aside to cool.

Put pistachios on a separate baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove pistachios from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, orange juice and balsamic vinegar.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove them from the aluminum foil. Peel the beets (wear gloves if you don’t want pink hands). Cut the beets into wedges and place in a medium bowl. Toss the beets with just enough dressing to coat.

Once pistachios have cooled, coarsely chop them. Toss remaining dressing with arugula, feta and olives.

Distribute the arugula mixture between four dishes, then top each dish with beets. Sprinkle each dish with chopped pistachios and serve.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tri-Tip Chili

We recently had some friends over for a barbecue and ended up with a ton of leftover tri-tip. While my husband’s recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, excessive leftovers of any sort can be a challenge. Hence, this chili. It’s easy and delicious, and a great way to make something new with what’s hogging space in the fridge.

Tri-Tip Chili 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound cooked tri-tip, cubed
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 7 ¾ ounce can El Pato tomato sauce with jalapeño

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne and salt and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

We recently moved into a new house, and while it was a local move, it was still quite a bit of work, hence no new recipes from me for a bit. But, everything’s finally unpacked and I’m back in the kitchen! Our new place has a great backyard, where I recently discovered some late-season mega zucchini that the previous tenant must’ve planted. These bad boys are each at least a foot long!

I was able to put a (slight) dent in our backyard bounty with a batch of tasty muffins. Note: if you’re working with a bigger zucchini like I did for this recipe, you’ll want to quarter it lengthwise and remove seeds before grating.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup grated zucchini
½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cooking spray or butter, to grease muffin tin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tin. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl and stir or whisk to blend. In another bowl, combine zucchini, yogurt, vanilla extract, egg, brown sugar and walnuts, stirring until blended. Add dry ingredients to the bowl with the zucchini mixture, stirring until everything’s mixed. Scoop ⅓ cup mix per muffin cup. Bake for 20 minutes.

Yields 9-10 muffins