Posts Tagged ‘ Grilled Veggies ’

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

Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes

Yesterday was a much needed day off, fortunately tomorrow is too.  As for today, I’ll be working 8:30-7 pm.  I’m still trying to decide if I should bring dinner to work and eat early or pick up something on my way home and eat late.  I don’t like eating late but I also don’t like the idea of essentially bringing 3 meals to work.  Ah, decisions!

Fortunately I made a really great dinner last night.   The leftovers will take care of my work day lunch.   Yesterday I stopped at a local farm stand and bought some really nice beefsteak tomatoes.  I then made a rice, vegetable and cheese mixture to stuff them and cooked them outside on the grill.  I love it when people think vegetarians can’t barbeque!  I roasted both the peppers that went into the stuffing and the tomatoes so the finished product had that great smoky flavor of being cooked over a flame.

The prep time took a little longer than usual for me but I had several things going on at once and nothing was too difficult.  While the rice was cooking I had the peppers on the grill roasting.  While the rice cooled a little I was peeling and chopping the roasted peppers.  If you really want to skip a step you can buy a jar of roasted red peppers but they’re just not as good as doing it yourself.  The rest of the prep time went pretty quickly.  My recipe also ended up with about double the rice mixture needed but I like that.  The rice and veggies alone can be a great side dish for another meal.

My one mistake was trying to put them directly on the grill.  It wasn’t a total mistake or disaster, it just made taking them off the grill that much harder.  The fact that I tried to use a thicker bamboo spatula instead of a slim stainless steel one also didn’t help.  It made the job sloppy, hence my less than glamorous photo above.  Looks can be deceiving.  They were delicious, just a little off kilter.  Also, I’d like to say the one topless tomato was intentional to show you both the pretty topped ones and the stuffing itself.  That would be a lie.  When lifting that one off the grill the top slid off and fell between the grates.  I would suggest either being more careful when removing or grilling on a piece of foil for easier removal.

Ingredients

4-8 large beefsteak tomatoes (depending on size)

2 cups cooked rice (I used white)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large peppers or 8 smaller sweet peppers (or just used the jarred roasted peppers)

2 ears of corn on the cobb grilled  or frozen corn kernels (I used leftovers from 2 days ago)

6 oz fresh mozzarella diced (or vegan version)

4 oz veg parmesan cheese

4 scallions chopped

1 clove garlic finely minced

salt, pepper Italian seasoning to taste

Directions

Turn grill on medium high and place peppers directly on it, roast and turn until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes pe side, remove from heat and allow to cool until you can handle them, then remove the blackened skin from each pepper, slice in half and remove seeds and top, then give them a rough chop

While the peppers are roasting, grill the corn as well.  I simply spread some olive oil on small pieces of foil, salt and pepper and wrap each corn individually, cook the same way as the peppers turning frequently, once cooled cut kernels from the cobb

Slice the top of each tomato off and a tiny bit of the bottom if needed to make them stand properly, gently take a knife or spoon to remove the inside pulp and seeds, turn upside down on a dish towel for at least 10 minutes to drain liquids

Take rice and drizzle with olive oil, add corn, chopped peppers, scallions, garlic and seasoning, add the diced cheese and mix well, spoon mixture into the cavity of each tomato pushing down so well filled, top each tomato if desired and place either directly on grill or on foil on the grill, roast for about 15 minutes until the tomato gets the rich slightly wrinkled look of a well roasted tomato.  Enjoy!

Have a peaceful day! Lin

One of my favorite things

I know, I know, it’s just a container.  But it’s the most perfect personal sized salad container I’ve ever seen.  My friend Caz brought to work a salad in it a year ago and within a week all my friends had one.  Mine is getting a little worn and after 11 months my fork finally broke so I was thrilled to find it in stock at Target once again. You can find it in the seasonal aisle with summer stuff.  It’s cost, a mere $2.99!  They also have a really cute “meal” version with the separated sections.  I did not purchase that one simply because I don’t heat food in plastic and assume I’d only use it for hot food.

As you can see this is a complete salad kit.  The best part is that it does not leak at all!  It is a perfect size for a meal sized salad, the fork doesn’t fall out and the cup for dressing actually holds the dressing.  I only dress my salads with oil and vinegar so that’s pretty amazing.  It’s not too large so it fits perfectly in my lunch bag.  So I have 1 item that is food friendly, functional and environmentally friendly since it’s reusable.

The salad you see here is using the leftover grilled veggies from the other night.  It consists of spring mix, grilled zucchini, sweet potato, and baby peppers.  On top of that is some onion, tomato, and feta.  I sprinkled some Italian seasoning on it and dressed it with pear vinegar mixed with olive oil.  It’s a perfect dinner for work or home.

Completely unrelated, I just got a text from my son who is in Prague.  He’s 2 weeks into his 9 week European adventure and is finally completely over his food poisoning and is feeling well.  Apparently he is able to cook in the hostel where he’s staying.   His text stated that he was in a store and needed a recipe asap.  He’s with a girl who speaks enough English and can help him shop.  I sent him my original Fettucini Alfredo recipe which I posted 12/22/09. It has very few ingredients and is easy to make anywhere.  I can’t wait to hear his results!

Tea Marinade for Grilled Veggies

In case you don’t know I live in Florida.  What that means is for about 2/3 the year it is absolutely gorgeous outside and the other 1/3 it’s hotter than heck.  Today is the latter.  15 minutes outside at a garden store was too hot and humid for me to handle.  With heat like this and the AC running all day there is no way I’m turning on my oven.

I believe it’s time for some grilled veggies.  I stopped by a local farm stand and was not thrilled with the selection.  My guess is that being Monday  the weekend shoppers picked through the best selection.  The reason I state this is because my combination of veggies is a little odd.  Zucchini cut lengthwise, sweet potato, and mini peppers.  I really would have liked some portobello’s to round it out but I will manage.  In reality any veggies that grill well will work with this recipe.  Leftovers will be tossed into a salad for my lunch tomorrow.  Also, for my husband I have a piece of tilapia marinating separately which will be grilled as well.

Green Tea Marinade

1 Green Tea bag

1 1/4 cups boiling water

3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon Agave Nectar (I’m sure honey or brown sugar would work)

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

a few sprigs of basil and cilantro or coriander finely chopped

I did not use any lemon zest or juice because I didn’t think it would go well with the sweet potato but with other vegetables it would be a great addition!

An assortment of vegetables of your choosing

Directions

Let the tea steep for several minutes and cool.  Add in all other ingredients (except veggies) and whisk well.  Place veggies and marinade in sealed container and give a good shake.  Let sit for a couple of hours and shake or turn over every 1/2 hour.

Preheat grill to a medium high heat and place veggies on grill.  I add veggies 1 at a time depending on their cook time.  I will cook the sweet potato slices for about 10 minutes per side.  Once I turn them I add the zucchini and peppers which cook about 4 minutes per side.  Every grill is different so I cook mostly by the look and use nice dark grill lines as a sign that it’s time to flip or remove each item.