Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pasta with Chickpea-Marinara Sauce

I’ve been craving chickpeas, lentils, rice pilafs, couscous, bulgur wheat – really simple and earthy type foods recently. Last week I had lunch with a friend at a Venus Mediterranean Grille and when I read the description for Kusherie I was sold! “Mixed rice, lentils and elbow pasta topped with caramelized onions and sauce (served hot).” I plan on recreating this dish soon!

I had this recipe in a stack to make in a few weeks, but it promptly got moved to this weeks Menu Plan when my cravings became too persistent to deny.

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  • 3 cups Homemade Spicy Marinara Sauce (or 1 Tbsp grape seed oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes, 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium broth, fresh torn basil)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 12 oz medium pasta,shells, penne or rotini
  • grated parmesan
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, season with salt and cook for 5 mins. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until sauce has slightly, 20 minutes. Add basil and cook 5 minutes more.
  2. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, drain pasta and return to pot.
  3. Add sauce to pasta and toss. Serve with parmesan.
Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine

I served the pasta with a side of roasted green beans tossed with grainy mustard. Thanks Leah for the mustard idea!

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Finally, I got my purse in the mail yesterday that I purchased from Etsy!!! I absolutely love it and it looks even nicer in person.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whole Wheat Crepes with Sautéed Bananas and Chocolate

Oh the possibilities for my last two crepes…

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More Sweet Crepes!

Serves 2

  • 2 whole wheat crepes, premade
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • cinnamon sprinkling
  • chocolate syrup drizzle 
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon butter in skillet over medium. Add bananas, brown sugar and cinnamon; cook, stirring occasionally, until bananas are lightly browned on one side, about 3 minutes. foodblog 002

  2. Fold crepes into quarters; top with bananas and chocolate.

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Recipe adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

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Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Creamy Chicken Apple Chili leftovers

Tuesday: Pasta with Chickpea-Marinara Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Wednesday: Cranberry Apple Butter Tempeh Sandwich (massage night dinner-on-the-go)

Thursday: Tempeh Reuben’s with 3-Grain Pilaf

Friday: Chicago Pizza Bowls stuffed with artichokes, red onion, and tri-colored bell peppers

Saturday: My first Green Monster, Lasagna Soup and Garlic Bread Knots

Sunday: Slow Cooker Whole Rosemary and Garlic Chicken, Smashed Whipped Banana Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Creamy Chicken Apple Chili in Individual Whole Wheat Bread Bowls

I made this chicken chili late last summer and was impressed by how great it was. As a child Andy enjoyed eating soups out of bread bowls, so I granted his wish today. I found a recipe for easy bread bowls using pizza dough. I pulled one of my homemade whole wheat pizza balls out of the freezer and to thaw over night.

The bread bowls turned out quite a bit smaller than I anticipated and though cooked through were a bit doughy. The meal was still enjoyable (and I conclude once again that this soup is a keeper); however, I’ll be looking for a new bread bowl recipe this for this fall.

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See my previous post for the Creamy Chicken Apple Chili recipe.

Individual Whole Wheat Bread Balls

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions (or 2 if you want larger bowls) and roll each portion into a ball.

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Place balls on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, cut a small portion from the top of each ball (reserve cut-out piece for another use). Press in the center, making room for the chili. Spoon chili into the bread bowls and top with desired toppings.

Original Bread Bowls recipe courtesy of Robin Miller

“Hello” from Finley – aka cutest beagle ever!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peanut Butter, Banana and Date Whole Wheat Crepes with Honey and Cinnamon

Do you really need for me to tell you how good this tasted? I will say I loved how the peanut butter slightly stuck to the top of my mouth.

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Sweet Crepes!

Serves 1

  • 1 whole wheat crepe, premade
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • cinnamon sprinkling
  • honey drizzle

Assemble and fold. Heat 10-15 seconds in the microwave, slightly cool and enjoy!

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Recipe courtesy of Closet Cooking

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Spinach and Artichoke Whole Wheat Crepes with Flax

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Savory Crepes!

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I’ve wanted to try making crepes for a couple of years now, but I always thought I needed to allot several hours to figuring them out…today I learned this is NOT so!! The batter whipped up in a matter of seconds and using a non-stick pan on medium heat created the perfect crepe in mere minutes!! I didn’t have one single crepe “act up” on me. Andy raved about these and we discussed making these for guests at our next opportunity. Any takers? :-)

  • 1 batch whole wheat crepes, premade (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 oz artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté until just starting to caramelize, about 5-9 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the spinach and artichokes, sauté 2-3 minutes. Melt in cream cheese, season with salt and pepper. foodblog 001
  3. Place some of the artichoke and spinach mixture into a crepe, fold into quarters (triangular shaped).

We drizzled ours with a sweet Asian sauce we had recently purchased and served along side a romaine, peanut, dried cranberry, broken cracker salad with more Asian sauce as a dressing.

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Recipes adapted from Closet Cooking

Whole Wheat Crepes with Flax

(Makes 4-5 crepes)

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed, optional
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  1. Mix everything in a large bowl.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup ladle of the mixture into a lightly buttered pan heated at medium.foodblog 010
  3. Tilt the pan and turn so that the mixture evenly coats the entire bottom of the pan.
  4. Cook the crepe until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

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I’m looking forward to dessert tonight where the crepes will be making their second appearance of the day!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

CEiMB: Tofu with Mango Barbecue Sauce

We loved the mango bbq sauce as a marinade and glaze for our baked tofu! We served this with a romaine spear and heated whole wheat naan.

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This week our host was the adventurous Aggie from Aggie’s Kitchen – be sure to check out the awesome recipes on her blog.

I had some leftover tofu from earlier this week and l decided to use with the mango barbecue sauce (if you’d prefer chicken check out Ellie’s original recipe linked below). This is a great sauce with a nice kick and I bet it would be great using a peach in place of the mango as well.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 mango, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp red chili paste
  • Perfect Baked Tofu method

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Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, and allspice and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture into a mini food processor or blender and add the mango and jalapeno or red chili paste. Blend until smooth.

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Put 1 cup of the barbeque sauce into a sealable plastic bag with the pressed tofu and marinate for 1 hour.

Proceed with the Perfect Baked Tofu method. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce over the tofu and serve.

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese Dressing

This is a great, simple dressing to whip up! I skipped the bacon and used diced pimentos as a garnish instead.

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  • 2 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon over medium, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together cheese, milk, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle romaine with dressing, and top with bacon.

I made a mocktail to go along with my dinner – squeeze of 1/4 of lime, 1 part POM cherry juice, 1 part mango orange juice, 3-4 parts diet tonic water.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gumbo-Style Chunky Hash with Fried Eggs and Popper Polenta

I’ve seen grits/polenta everywhere recently! Kelsey and Martha Stewart both made shrimp and grits last week and Rachael Ray aired a Popper Polenta recipe that just sounded too good to pass up. 

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Gumbo-Style Chunky Hash with Fried Eggs

I used shredded turkey in place of chicken and white beans in place of sausage.  For health benefits, I am also going to start adding ground flax seed and turmeric to our daily diets.

Serves 2

  • 2 eggs, cooked the way you like them
  • 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 pound andouille sausage, cut into half moons about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 fresh okra, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or beer

In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, add 1 turn of the pan of EVOO and brown the chicken, about 2 minutes per side. Add some salt, ground black pepper, paprika, cayenne, thyme and andouille. Cook until all the meat is brown and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate.

In the pan the meat was just cooked in, add the bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the okra (if using) and cook another 3 minutes.

Scoot the veggies over to one side of the pan to make a well, add the butter and melt. Stir the flour into the butter and cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire and hot sauce, and stock, and bring up to a bubble. Add reserved sausage and chicken back to the pot, stir, cover and let stand off the heat.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Popper Polenta

  • 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese

In a medium-size pot over medium-high heat, add one turn of the pan of EVOO. Cook the peppers until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Add cream cheese, milk, dehydrated onion and stock and bring up to a bubble. Whisk in polenta. When it starts to firm up, stir in cheese. Serve a scoop of polenta topped with hash and a fried egg.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Bloggers, Help Fight Climate Change! - show your support to fight climate change.  I was emailed a  certificate for my Planet Shares today.


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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pumpkin Chickpea Burgers and Herbed Couscous Timbale with Dried Fruits and Nuts

I had the pumpkin chickpea burgers on my Menu Plan Monday last week, but we had several Steakhouse Sliders and BBQ Tofu Pizza slices leftover this weekend that I didn’t get to them. In the meantime, the glamorous, Angela at Oh She Glows! spotted the Pumpkin Chickpea Burgers and gave them a preview. Once I read that they were quite bland, I kicked them up with paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, dried oregano, and fresh chives and parsley. These spices really did the trick!

I basically dared them to be flavorless on me!

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I couldn’t resist molding our leftover baked beans after doing the timbale couscous.

Pumpkin Chickpea Burgers

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  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 cup great northern beans
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes or until soft, then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash beans with a fork. Be sure to mash most of the beans until a paste forms, leaving some whole beans are okay Add pumpkin, oats and seasonings to beans. Add onions and garlic to mixture. foodblog 012 Mix until well combined. Allow mixture to rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, the mixture can be left overnight or up to 3 days.
  3. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal balls. With hands, shape mixture into patties about 3 inches around and 1/2 inch thick. foodblog 013
  4. To cook patties, bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once. Or, place 1 tsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place patties into pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn patties and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until patties are browned on both sides.
Recipe adapted from Fun Foods on a Budget

Herbed Couscous Timbale with Dried Fruits and Nuts

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  • 3 tablespoons peanuts
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup couscous, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/4 cup dried raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried dates (about 8)
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup seeded and finely diced red bell pepper

    1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Remove from the heat. Stir in the couscous, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
    2. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Save a few peanuts and raisins for garnish, stir in the remaining ingredients. Pack the couscous mix into a 4-in ramekin or a cookie cutter and invert onto each serving plate. Top with a sprinkle of the remaining peanuts and raisins.
Inspired “The Food You Crave” by Ellie Krieger, RD page 272

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Cool Color Illusion

Check it out at The Durham Bull Pen

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Pumpkin Chickpea Burgers and Ellie’s Herbed Couscous Timbale with Dried Fruits and Nuts

Tuesday: Gumbo-Style Chunky Hash with Popper Polenta

Wednesday: Hanky Panky on Rye Toasts and frozen vegetables

Thursday: CeiMB: Tofu with Mango Barbecue Sauce and Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese Dressing

Friday: Dining out - at Dain’s Place for “The Dainer” Burger

Saturday: French Beef Casserole (frozen) and Whole Wheat Crepes (sweet and savory versions)

Sunday: Creamy Chicken Apple Chili in Bread Bowls

Orange Miso Tofu Stir Fry

I’m becoming a big tofu fan after Friday nights BBQ Tofu Pizza and tonight’s Tofu Stir Fry.  The tofu takes a little work to obtain a nice crunchy, baked texture but it’s painless.  The tofu is first frozen, thawed, drained and pressed, and finally marinated and baked.  The remaining marinade is sautéed with the vegetables, allowing the flavors all easily come together.  For us, this is goes down in the books as a fun, healthy dinner.  Andy wants me to put come up with a General Tso’s Tofu dish soon, one of his favorite  combo of flavors.

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Serves 2

  • Perfect Baked Tofu, method below
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp shiracha sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 16 oz bag mixed stir fry vegetables (I used shelled edamame, broccoli, and green beans)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except tofu, 1 tbsp oil, soy sauce and vegetables and stir well. Before coating the tofu with oil, brush with sauce mixture on each side.

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Bake according to perfect baked tofu directions, below.

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Once the tofu is baked, stir fry the vegetables in the 1 tbsp oil over high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add in the tofu and sauce and stir fry until the sauce is heated through. 

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Serve hot over noodles or rice, season with soy sauce and sesame oil.

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Perfect Baked Tofu

  • Freeze the tofu for at least 24 hours in the container it comes in, you want to buy extra firm kind packed in water. Skip this step if you must but it does create a chewier texture if you freeze it first.
  • Thaw the tofu in the fridge, usually will thaw overnight.
  • Drain the tofu. Wrap it in a a ton, like 10 to 12 paper towels and place something really heavy on top. I put it in a loaf pan, place a loaf pan on top and then put a brick inside the top loaf pan. If you don’t have a brick you could use rocks, heavy books or cans. Do NOT skip this step.
  • Put it in the fridge to drain for about 8 hours. The longer you drain it, the better texture it will have. I wouldn’t do less than 4 hours.
  • Unwrap from the paper towels slice in whatever way you want, I prefer cutting the block into thirds so that you have three large sheets. Or cubes if you are making stir fry. foodblog 017
  • Rub with olive oil on both sides, use oil not cooking spray. Season with whatever you want, I just use sea salt.
  • Bake at 400*. The amount of time will depend on what shape you cut it into. If you do the three slices, it takes about 20 minutes then flip over for 20 more minutes.
  • The plain method is good with with any sort of sauce. For stir fry, you can prepare it in advance and store it in the fridge.
Recipes courtesy of What I Ate Yesterday

Johnstone’s VIn Blanc Spotting:

Jen at Running with Food, from one of my favorite blogs and an avid reader of mine, made my Cheesy BBQ Chicken Braid!


I end tonight with a picture of Wilson, a super sweet pup that enjoyed watching me cook from the family room couch.

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