Monday, January 31, 2011

Chana Masala

After making a garbanzo-stellina soup over the weekend, I had some garbanzo beans left and my darling husband asked for chana masala. So while poking around online I found a recipe and gave it a shot. It was delicious! And (very) low in fat (only one teaspoon of oil)! Of course the dish would be tastier with ghee or even just butter, but I aim for the tasty and healthy, not the tasty and indulgent. The rice cooker made brown basmati rice for me (to which I added turmeric for taste and color) and I steamed some cauliflower to fill out the plate. At the table we topped the chana masala with mango chutney (from a jar) and the sweetness really deepened the complexity of the dish.

Alright, I know what you've been waiting for. Here's my plate:

I would like to credit my husband, who took this photo. He has voiced the opinion that my food photography is not the best so I guess he decided to help me out. :)

According to my calculations, this recipe serves 3 at 6 WW points plus per serving.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spinach-Broccoli Ricotta Pie

I decided to make Spinach-Broccoli Ricotta Pie for dinner tonight. It is a favorite around here, and packs a wallop of iron and calcium rich veggies in a delicate, rich-tasting filling with a crispy crust. I found a recipe in Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook for Spinach Ricotta Pie. However, I have made it at least 20 times and along the way I've made several additions and modifications. Most importantly, I decided to add broccoli to the mix for extra taste and toothsomeness (if that's a word). Here's my version of this recipe.

The Crust:
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 and 1/2 cups flour
4-6 tablespoons cold water, milk, or buttermilk 

The Filling:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium minced onion
1 pound spinach, stemmed and finely chopped (unless you are using baby spinach, in which case you do not have to take the stems out) 
1/2 to 1 pound broccoli, stems peeled, finely sliced (easiest way to do this is with the food processor)
3/4 teaspoon salt 
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dry basil 
15 ounces part skim ricotta cheese 
2 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons flour
dash of nutmeg 

1) Cut together the butter and flour in food processor until the mixture is uniformly blended and resembles coarse cornmeal.
2) Add about 4-6 tablespoons of ice water and pulse to form the dough. 
3) Roll out the dough and form a crust in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Set aside.
4) Preheat oven to 375. Warm olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion, and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add broccoli and cover. Allow to steam for 4-5 minutes, till broccoli is tender. Then add spinach, salt, pepper, and basil, and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
5) Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Spread into the unbaked pie shell.
6) Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch at the center. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Empty pie crust.

Minced onion, finely chopped spinach, finely sliced broccoli all sauteed together. Ready to add to the ricotta, egg, and flour mixture.

Finished pie cooling on the counter.

Pie on plates; ready to eat!

8 servings at 8 WW points plus each.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Red Lentil and Wild Rice Soup

Last night we had a mixture of sleet and rain. Outside it is still cold and raining. The rain is predicted to turn into snow and may leave us with 3-7 inches by morning. A perfect evening for a hearty soup! Grocery day is tomorrow, so this soup must be made with the standards I always have on hand. I did some searching online and came up with these options:

Creamy Garbanzo-ball and Wild Rice Soup: sounds tasty but I have no frozen peas, garbanzo flour, thyme or parsley. Those garbanzo balls look kind of involved. (But they make me think of matzoh ball soup, mmmmm).
Marrakesh Express Red Lentil Soup: this sounds great but I don't have any cilantro left. The recipe calls for 4 plum tomatoes and I have only 3, which might not make such difference. I wish the recipe gave weights so I'd have a better idea how far off the mark my tomatoes are. I really wanted a recipe with wild rice and this does not call for any!
Vegetable Lentil Wild Rice Soup: I don't have cabbage and this sounds as though it might be little bland. Then again, the comments on the recipe indicated that others have made substitutions and I do have cauliflower as well as some fresh spinach that should be eaten. I could chop the spinach really thin and add it at the end so it is more wilted than cooked. I could put in a sweet potato instead of a regular potato as one of the other commenters did. I think I will also double the amount of rice and add garbanzos in addition to the lentils. More nutrient dense that way.

If you have not already figured it out, I decided to make the Vegetable Lentil Wild Rice Soup. Here are my alterations: I added a rib and a half of chopped celery. I substituted a diced sweet potato for a regular potato. I used cauliflower, cut into 1" florets, instead of sliced cabbage. I put in double the amount of both wild rice and red lentils. I used only 28 ounces instead of 32 ounces of canned diced tomatoes (my cans are 28 ounces, not 32!). I added 1 cup of garbanzo beans (which I cooked: not from a can). The soup was sweet and savory and delicious! Warming and filling--packed full of nutrients and fiber with barely any fat and low in carbs (but all are complex carbs).

For those (hi Nicki!) who are interested, according to my calculations this soup serves 8 with 5WW points per serving.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

Tonight I tried another new recipe: Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes. I left out one tablespoon of oil and the jalapeno but otherwise did as the recipe required. It was delicious--even my little guy said it was yummy! We had Tofurky for protein (easy and quick accompaniment to the exciting new recipe).

My plate. I wished I had also made a quick salad or at least sliced up some cucumber and tomatoes.

My son's plate (he had some yogurt just in case the cayenne needed some cooling but it was fine without).

Onion, garlic, ginger in the saute pan.

Potatoes and cauliflower in the oven.

Pre-measured spices at the ready.

The completed dish. Mmm those cumin seeds.
Next time I'd remember the lemon juice and have a green salad or at very least something fresh on the plate as well. It was delicious though. A dish to try again.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lentils Update

Just has a taste of the lentil sweet potato dish from last night. It really is delicious but the lentils are still rather al dente. Oh well. I'll probably eat these left overs for lunch for a few days-too yummy to throw out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I loved everything about it: lentils, curry, sweet potatoes (love that savory/sweet mix), and Swiss chard. Unfortunately it did not work out. The lentils, despite 45 minutes of simmering, never got completely soft. They were edible (and actually, everyone ate them) but definitely more al dente than one expects from lentils. I will probably try this recipe again sometime (the taste was wonderful) but I have a feeling that tonight's leftovers are going to end up as trash unless the lentils soften in the fridge overnight and I am not holding my breath.Anyone know how I can avoid this problem in the future? I buy my lentils bulk and my theory is that they've been in my pantry too long (maybe 2-3 months). How soon do I have to use them before they refuse to absorb water?

Here is a photo of everything except the Swiss chard and the toppings, simmering away.

Here is the red Swiss chard, with ribs removed but before being cut for the pot. Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pasta and Salad

I had planned something more elaborate involving sweet potatoes but my son requested pasta and I needed to make something quick anyway.

I made whole wheat penne with dolled up pasta sauce from a jar, a salad, and Tofurky. Dolled up pasta sauce means that I sauteed diced onion and garlic in EVOO for 5 minutes before I added the sauce to the sautee pan to warm it up. The salad consisted of romaine, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomato, topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste at the table.
My plate

OK, I am the only one who ate all the items mentioned above but at least you know my plan. My husband ate a lot of pasta and sauce. My son ate barely anything.
My son's plate after he ate his fill.

My husband and I also had a glass of red wine with the meal.
Mmmm wine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cheese Sauce

Tonight I made what I would consider a standard dinner. Stir fry tofu, steamed cauliflower and carrots, and roasted cut potatoes with garlic. However, I did add one different thing to encourage my little one to eat the steamed veggies: cheese sauce! It was a very simple sauce--just the one from the side of the corn starch box. I used cheddar and dill havarti for the sauce, both cheeses he enjoys. He wouldn't eat it anyway. Here's a photo of my plate.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Burrito Night!

For dinner last night: beans.

Plus tortilla.

Plus toppings.

Equals burrito!
Nom nom nom

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Coconut Curry

Tonight I made a vegetarian sort of Thai Red Curry. Maybe I should call it Tasnima's Red Coconut Curry? Not really sure if it is a real dish, but I've been making something like this for, oh, 11 or 12 years now.

First I brown cubed tofu, then add seasoning (1 tsp Better Than Bouillon dissolved in 1/4 water). Then I added brocoli and snow peas. I turned the heat way down and let them gently steam for a while. I also added canned corn and bamboo shoots (both drained). I also added basil and toasted sesame oil.

Meanwhile I heated coconut milk, Thai Red Curry (I buy it in a jar), lemongrass, and salt in a saucepan.

I also cooked the brown rice pasta.

I serve it separately so the members of my family can combine it as suits their taste. Here it is all together on my plate.
My husband says he liked it, but I am not convinced. My son clearly did not like it, except for the coconut sauce. At least he didn't say it looked like throw up, which is what he said about the dal last night. I will probably not make it again for while.

Tomorrow: leftovers!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Red Lentil Dal

I found a recipe for red lentil dal and I made it for dinner tonight. (I left out the butter.) We also had brown basmati rice and steamed broccoli. A little yogurt on top.

The dal took more effort than I thought, but the first time I make a recipe it is always like that.

I wish my rice cooker did not make a hard skin on the outside of the rice while it cooks. Perhaps I should put in more water.