Archive for the ‘ Main Course ’ Category

Primo Pasta

This recipe actually came from the most recent copy of  Vegetarian Times although I’ve made a few changes to it.  It’s photo was the magazine cover and looked really good.  As I read the recipe I realized that it was listed under an article for meals with 5 ingredietns or less.  I love that type of recipe but I always end up adding extras.  It’s still a really simple recipe and has a lemony creamy taste.

Now I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I’ve made much better recipes and when we ate it for dinner we thought it was a good weekday meal but nothing fabulous.  Sunday I took a container of it to work for lunch and was pleasantly surprised at how well it lasted and reheated.  It made me like this even more.  Following the recipe as written it was a little to thick and sticky.  I fixed this by adding a little fat free half and half until it was a creamier consistency.  I also added some veggies making it a convenient 1 dish meal.  Feel free to add in or remove whatever veggies you like.  I had considered adding some cannellini beans but last minute changed my mind.  They would have worked fine.

Ingredients

8 oz dry linguine cooked according to directions

1/2 cup light cream cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon zested

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Approximately 1/2 cup fat free half and half  or milk

Parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste

12 oz bag of veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower florets

Directions

Cook pasta according to directions, during the last minute or two of cooking toss veggies into the boiling water

Drain pasta and veggies well, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water

In a large saucepan warm cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest until melted, add seasoning and pasta water

Stir in pasta and veggies and add half and half or milk until desired consistency, add additional seasoning if needed

Advertisements

Cold Sesame Noodles

Yesterday I was good and planned ahead.  I made this recipe for cold sesame noodles in preparation for my work day lunches this week.  This is the first time I’ve made this dish in ages and I’m not sure why.  Sometimes we simply forget out old time favorites.  Today’s recipe is both gluten-free and vegan.  While I’ve given up the G-free diet I’m still trying to cut down on my consumption of gluten.  Much easier said than done.  Today I used rice noodles which is appropriate for a dish like this.  If you have regular semolina pasta go for it, it’s fine.  One of the best things about this besides the taste is that it’s served cold so I don’t have to waste time standing around the microwave waiting for it to cook.

My Sunday work day is 9:30am-8pm which pretty much covers breakfast lunch and dinner.  The cafeteria is closed on Sunday’s which isn’t much of an issue for me.  I rarely purchase anything there, although one day next week they’re going to serve rice with black beans and plantains.  That sounds pretty tempting.  Of course the true main dish is some kind of pork sandwich.  I really can’t fathom why anyone would want that when the side dish is so much healthier than the main dish.  I’m grateful that for the simple fact that there is a small salad bar that I can always take advantage of if need be.  For the most part I prefer to pack my lunch bag and know exactly what I’m eating.  What is your typical work or school day lunch?  Are cafeteria’s getting any better with their selections?

  • 1/2 pound rice pasta cooked according to directions
  • 1/4 cup Tamari dark soy, perhaps a little more to thin sauce
  • 1/4 rounded cup smooth peanut butter, soften it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar if you don’t have rice)
  • 1-2  tablespoon dark sesame oil, more or less depending on consistency
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
  • 2 cups shredded veggies such as carrots and cabbage
  • 3 scallions, chopped on an angle
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews for topping (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions or personal taste and drain well

Whisk together soy, warm peanut butter, vinegar, oil, sesame oil,pepper flakes, and hot sauce in a large bowl

Add noodles and veggies and toss well to combine and coat them evenly with sauce

Allow to cool for awhile and sprinkle scallions and sesame seeds throughout the salad saving a little of the scallion greens to top the dish

Peace, love, & greens, Lin
Vegetarilin on Facebook

Greek Frittata

If you’ve never had a frittata before it is  kind of a cross between an omelette and a quiche.  Ultimately, it’s flatter than a quiche and lacks the fatty crust.  It’s also super easy to make.  This morning I realized that I am lacking many basic ingredients to do anything to creative but did not want a boring bowl of cereal.  Thankfully I always have some frozen spinach on hand so I used that as my starting point.

The unique thing about a frittata is that it’s cooked both on top of the stove and in the oven.  You pretty much let the bottom set while cooking on top of the stove and then you place it under the broiler until the top is cooked and lightly browned.  It’s much quicker to put together and cook than a quiche and stores just as well in the fridge for several days.  I’ll be taking a piece of it to work for breakfast tomorrow.

Ingredients

8 large eggs or 2 cups egg substitute (or a mixture of each totaling 2 cups)

1/4 cup half and half (milk will do)

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach drained very well

1/4 cup grated mozzarella

1/4 cup feta

1 medium onion chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic minced

1 roma tomato chopped

Salt pepper to taste

Oil for pan

Directions

Pre-heat a pan that can be used both on stove top and inside oven on medium high heat and lightly oil it

Add onion to pan and saute until translucent about 5 minutes, then add in tomato and garlic for 1 minute

In a bowl whisk together, egg product, spinach, cheeses, and half and half, season with salt and pepper, stir in onion and tomato mixture

Add more oil to pan if needed and pour mixture into pan, do not heat above medium high or the bottom will burn!!

Do not stir while cooking but as it starts to set pull away from the edge of the pan so that the liquid gets closer to the bottom

Once it seems about 1/2 way set place in oven under the broiler and check every couple of minutes, I more the pan a bit to make sure all parts of the frittata get directly under the heat

When the top is nicely browned remove from the heat, let sit for a couple of minutes and then slice and serve

Peace, love, & greens, Lin
Vegetarilin on Facebook

Tofu Korma

Early in the day: Summer in Florida is getting old quickly.  It’s hot humid and our rainy season.  Typically the term “rainy season” means a few brief rain storms often in the afternoon or evening with lots of thunder and lightning.  The last several days it’s been raining so much it’s incredible.  Yesterday around noon the darkest cloud came over my office and made midday look more like midnight!  It lasted over an hour with incredibly heavy rain.  It was incredible, I thought for sure a tornado or some crazy weather phenomenon was going to attack us.  Luckily just the rain  did.

With this weather in mind I’m in a bit of a cooking quandary.  It’s finally my day off and I want to cook but I don’t trust the weather enough to grill something and I don’t want to turn on the oven.  I”m trying to come up with a good summer dinner that is cooked using the stove top only.

Later on: So I’ve decided to try something totally new and create my own veg version of an Indian chicken korma, substituting tofu and butternut squash for the chicken.  Being the wonderful wife that I am, I will actually make a small pot with chicken for my husband.  Korma is a creamy curry sauce made with many rich, fragrant spices.  From my online research there seems to be many variations, some made with heavy cream, coconut milk, or yogurt.  I’ve also seen many different vegetables incorporated.

Today I’m going with butternut squash which works very well with cream sauce, peas and tofu.  I’m not a fan of seitan but if you are feel free to use that in place of tofu.  I noticed several recipes had a little tomato in them but I don’t think I’d like that with a creamy sauce.  I had about 1 cup of wild rice uncooked so I decided to use that instead of a plain white rice.

Even Later: First let me apologize for my lack of photo.  It seems the aging camera I’ve been using has decided to die on me.  While it took the pics they were grainy and unfocused.  It might be a couple of weeks until I can purchase a reasonably priced new one.

The end result was a really rich and tasty dinner.  Both my husband and son really enjoyed it.  At the last minute I decided to add a little sriracha.  The recipe had a nice warm flavor without it but we like a little more heat.  It’s totally optional.  I had all the spices prepared, prior to cooking so they all were ready to toss in at the right time.  This made it very easy.  Cooking the 2 pots of it at the same time was quite easy although I think my husband would have enjoyed the tofu version.  Either way this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 12 oz block tofu
  • 1 butternut squash peeled, cubed and either roasted or microwaved
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger ( I freeze mine and it grates super easy!)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, cumin, and coriander
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, or to taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Sriracha (optional hot sauce) to taste, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews for topping

Directions

Heat oil in a  pan and add onions and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on a medium heat until the onions are starting to brown

Then add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the spices except the garam masala mix well so the seasoning is well mixed.

Turn the heat up to medium high and cook for another 1 minute adding the tofu and squash

Stir well so that the tofu gets mixed well with all the seasoning, this is where it gets all the flavor.

Add water and turn down the heat slightly, then stir in the garam masala and cream , yogurt, and peas cooking for another 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cashews.  Enjoy!

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Vegetarilin on Facebook

Grilled Veggies and Pasta

This evening I was craving baked pasta but the last thing I wanted to do is turn on my oven.  With the heat index Central Florida is close to 105 degrees.  In reality the temperature is in the mid 90’s.  From what I understand much of the country is feeling the summer heat as bad or worse than Florida.  I’m sure it’s not that different in many other countries either.

So the question is, how to have a baked pasta dish without turning on the oven?  The answer is easy, use your grill!  I’ve been doing this for years using glass bake-ware and the lowest setting for the grill.  I don’t actually think it’s recommended so please do so at your own risk.  I actually use the grill 2x for this recipe.  First to roast the veggies on a high heat and then again to bake the completed pasta dish.  The only indoor heat I used was to cook the pasta.

The recipe requires very little work.  I bought sliced mushrooms and broccoli florets and used jarred sauce.  I forgot the onion so that was one less thing to slice, however I suggest remembering that part, onions do enhance the overall flavor!

I actually  made 2 trays, one with a whole wheat pasta for the men and a quinoa pasta for myself.  It seems like an awful lot for 3 people but we’ll eat the leftovers for a few days so it’s fine.  I can also freeze a couple of servings in individual portion sized bags for future use.

Ingredients

1 lb cooked penne pasta (whole wheat or regular)

12 oz broccoli florets

12 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced

1 onion diced

1 cup frozen peas

1 large zucchini

1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers

1- 1.5 large jars of quality pasta sauce (I used a spicy variety)

8 oz cubed mozzarella

8 oz provolone or gruyère cheese chopped or shredded

4 oz vegetarian parmesan cheese

salt pepper and italian seasonings (I use the kind in the grinder)

Directions

Preheat grill to medium high, slice zucchini lengthwise and lightly brush both sides with oil and season, place that and the peppers directly on the grill

Slice onions and toss with the broccoli and mushrooms in a little olive oil, season and add to a grill appropriate pan, place this on the grill

Cook the veggies for about 10 minutes and turn all, remove from heat when the appear to be cooked, slice the zucchini and add to the other veggies adding in the frozen peas

When the pepper is cooled peal off the blackened layer of skin and chop coarsely add to the veggies

Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, add the veggies and sauce, mixing well

Add all the cheeses and mix again, turn into a prepared baking dish and cover with foil, bake on medium low heat for approximately 2o minutes until the cheese is nicely melted

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Cool Cantaloupe Soup

Aren’t these demitasse cups adorable?  They were my grandmother’s and I just love them.  Being I’m not a coffee drinker I usually don’t have any use for them.  I’m also a bit afraid of damaging them so usually they’re just on display behind glass.  While making today’s cool soup I thought the cups would be a great way to serve a tiny taste of the soup.  In reality I prefer larger portions but this was fun.

I had about a half a leftover melon from a couple of days ago and plan on buying another when I go shopping in awhile.  A cool breakfast soup just sounded like a great way to start the day.  In reality I’m not sure what makes this a soup versus a smoothie, but call it what you want it tastes great.

This soup would make a lovely starter to a meal with several courses or would pair well with a simple salad or veggie sandwich for a meal itself.  As a breakfast it was fine by itself but I’m guessing I’ll be hungry again in a couple of hours.

Once again, I have another toss it together meal.  In this instance it’s more of a blend it all together experience.  I literally threw everything into the blender, grated the zest and ginger right into it, covered it and turned it on.  Nothing could be easier.  This is obviously gluten-free and is easily made vegan with a quick change of yogurt.

Ingredients

3 cups melon cubed in small pieces
1/4 cup plain or vegan yogurt (I used fat free)
A tiny bit fresh grated ginger (powdered if you don’t have)
Zest of one lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp agave nectar  (honey if you don’t have)
2-3 lemon balm or mint leaves
2-3 basil leaves
2-3 Tbsp water if needed (use melon juice if possible)
Optional: a couple of small drops chipotle sauce
Directions
Toss all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!

Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese

Wait!  Don’t go anywhere…  This is a recipe for anyone, I promise.  The only difference between this and a traditional mac & cheese is the rice flour and pasta.  Just make this recipe using white flour and semolina past and you’ll love it.  Today’s version is my re creation of a pretty typical version.

My new work schedule is Sun, Mon, & Tuesday’s from 9:30am-8pm.  Sunday I’ll actually work 8:30-7pm, either way I’m not cooking 3 days in a row every week.  This puts a little obstacle in both my cooking and blogging about cooking.  I’ll work it out.

Mac and cheese is a perfect cook ahead meal.  We can all eat it for several days.  I’ll put a little in some single serving covered glass bowls and have an easy to microwave lunch every day.  We actually have a nice cafeteria at work Monday-Friday, the other day I even got some plantains and coconut rice which I really enjoyed.  However, on most days I bring my lunch bag and plenty of food to last a long day.  If you have any great work lunch ideas I’d love to hear them.

I don’t think I ever make mac and cheese the same way twice.  I tend to use a combination of whatever appropriate cheese I have on hand.  Today I wanted to use cheddar and gruyere because I’ve seen a few recipes with this combination and it just sounded so good.  Fortunately, I was right.  This recipe came out so good.


Ingredients

16 oz package rice elbow pasta cooked according to directions (or regular pasta)

8 oz low fat extra sharp cheddar

8 oz gruyere cheese

4 oz butter

4 oz rice flour (or white)

3 cups rice or dairy milk room temperature

1 whole egg or 2 egg whites (I had 2 whites leftover from banana pudding)

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

1 bay leaf

pepper and paprika to taste

Directions

Cook pasta and set aside, In a double broiler melt the butter and stir in flour and mustard, stir until there are no lumps and continue stirring for 5 minutes, add in bay leaf

Slowly start adding milk to mixture while constantly stirring, allowing it to continue at a low boil, continue until all milk is incorporated and cook for 10 minutes while stirring frequently, add paprika,

Mix egg in a separate bowl and add a little of the milk mixture stirring to temper, then add eggs to milk mixture and stir very well for a minute so the eggs don’t scramble, remove the bay leaf

Slowly add the crumbled cheese to the pot allowing to melt well,  when ready mix in the pasta, pour this into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Vegetarilin on Facebook