Saturday, January 26, 2008

Delicious, simple meals

Black Bean and Quinoa Chili

This is one of my favorite meals... as you've seen on this blog for a while. In the pic above, I used more quinoa than the recipe below calls for and it has been chilled overnight... but if you add more broth, it will thin out to a great chili consistency. You can also use bulgur or millet.

2 T olive oil
1 large onion or 1.5 cups diced
5 cloves garlic, or 1.5 T minced
1 t cumin seeds (ground is OK)
1 t coriander
2 T chili powder
1/4 t oregano or marjoram
2 serrano chiles, seeded if less spice is desired, chopped
1 small green pepper or 3/4 c chopped
1 small red pepper or 3/4 c chopped
pinch salt/pepper
3 c black beans (28 oz can or 1 c dried. but if they're dried they
need to be cooked first)
4 c vegetable stock or water
2 bouillon cubes if not using stock
1/2 c quinoa, rinsed
15 oz can corn or 1.5 c frozen corn
14 oz can diced tomatoes, or better yet, Rotel
more stock/water if necessary
Juice of 1 large lime
2 c cilantro, chopped
salt/pepper to taste
In a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat, place the first 11
ingredients in the pan and saute for at least 10 minutes. Add the
beans and stock and quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down
to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then add the corn and tomatoes.
You may need to add more water to reach your desired thickness. I like
a super chunky stew. Turn heat to low and cover for 20 more minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and season with salt/pepper to
This is delicious topped vegan sour cream mixed with roasted garlic,
lime juice and paprika, and some chopped avocado.

This morning, I awoke knowing I would have to figure out breakfast out of my pantry.. and my pantry is very bare with morning staples. I knew I had some cranberry and apple sauce in the freezer, so I took that out as soon as I woke up. I have about 1 cup of sucanat in this house, which I use for bread making a tablespoon at a time... so no pancake syrup could be made... but I have stevia... and oats and white whole wheat flour, so threw together these awesome muffins. I only used 2 T EVOO for the fat, along with flax meal..
My son enjoyed his slathered with peanut butter and jelly and washed it down with a huge glass of soymilk. I only wish I had written down the ingredients and proportions because they were delicious!
The other day I wanted to make my delicious veggie cream cheese spread, but didn't want the calories of the cashews. I tried my hand at this awesome tofu based spread with no added fat. It was delicious! I also used it to top whole wheat pasta (no pic).. I am going to make it one more time and measure so I can get the new and revised low fat version out to my testers!
In the theme of utilizing my pantry ingrendients, I made some seitan pepperoni... and steamed it based on the awesome Julie recipe. I am planning on making her sausages as written one of these days.. I just need to get to the health food store for some spices first as I want to do it exactly as writen.
I used the "seitanroni" to top this pizza.. it also had sauted mushrooms, onions and peppers and was topped with soft tofu/cashew cheez...
Lately I've been enjoying plain popcorn... I don't even use oil, just a quick spray of olive oil... 3 T of the dry corn equals around 4 cups popped for 130 calories.. and it's really good. I used to hate popcorn, but I think I really hated the chemicals, salt and fat in the commercial stuff. I don't have a microwave, so everything has to be made from scratch... which is a VERY good thing.

Last but not least... my sweet baby. She is sleeping at momma's house tonight!! We have gone for 2 walks at the beach... and it's just awesome. I love it when she spends the night.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Utilizing the leftovers...

I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking about making a barley risotto. Using barley as a substitution for arborio rice is an excellent way to increase the nutritional value of risotto. The base flavors for this dish were roasted fennel, roasted red peppers, onions, garlic and roasted butternut squash. I used balsamic vinegar to deglaze as well as a finishing touch. The vegetable stock was infused with thyme, rosemary and oregano. Freshly grated nutmeg complimented the baby spinach in the dish. Peas belong in risotto, so I was grateful for my frozen baby peas. Next time, I will finish the risotto with some soymilk to make it creamier.
Yesterdays lovely lunch salad. Organic baby spinach, roasted butternut squash, pecans, dried cranberries and some of the seitan from the last post. I topped this with a tiny bit of my super low fat balsamic flax vinaigrette. Totally delicious and satisfying!
Lunch today utilized more seitan, along with baby spinach, cashew cheez, sauerkraut, tomatoes, ketchup, relish and mustard spiked with caraway seeds. The cheez and the condiments truly made a delicious 1000 Island dressing like feel. The bun was one of my homemade 100% whole grain buns from the freezer. I love how easy it is to store these. All you do is slice them and put them in the freezer. When you are ready to use, just pop them in the toaster!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In which I turn the oven on

So, yesterday I was stuck at home all day during a snowstorm. Perfect day for cooking! My lunch today was delicious, a Chipotle BBQ sauce baked tofu sandwich with roasted red peppers, smoky dijon aioli and romaine on low calorie (40 calories per slice!) italian toast. The other day, one of my friends asked me for a low calorie hummus recipe. I knew that Isa had a cauliflower hummus recipe in Veganonmnicon so I based this hummus on that idea. The recipe is quite different from hers and it turned out great. One day, I'd like to try hers too!
Quinoa black bean chili. My kids love this and will certainly enjoy it.
My 100 calorie lavash pizza. Using this as a crust, you can cut the calories by 400 calories! I made a quick sauce out of tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh basil, mushrooms and some leftover eggplant. Topped it with FYH cheese, which is delicious with the sauce.

My pics are out of order here! I roasted butternut squash and of course had to roast the seeds as well. Yum!
Here's the Chipotle BBQ tofu, ready to be baked.
What a beautiful squash!
Oh, how roasting brings out the best in veggies!
Roasted red pepper and fennel. I'm thinking of making a roasted butternut squash, pepper and fennel barley risotto later on this week.
So, I'm sure most of you have checked out Julie's awesome sausage recipe and video! It inspired me to play around with seitan. I WILL follow her recipe to the T someday because it sounds delicious, but today I did a major clean out the fridge seitan, but used a cooking method based on her recipe. Wow.. I LOVED it! I have some in the fridge, I'm taking some to my kids and some if sliced and in the freezer right now. I used so many odds and ends in this seitan, but it really turned out well. I think this is my new favorite was to cook the seitan.

Ready for the fridge.. Combined with the baby spinach, I'll have a variety of great food this week.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lovely vegetables... and more simple food

For some reason, this week I haven't been into taking pics. I think I'm just not inspired because I don't have my dishes here. This is a furnished apartment, including dishes, and I'm already storing pots and pans that were here and quite a few very ugly dishes and I don't have room for my beloved dish collection... but I digress. This was a delicious meal. It made enough for two large portions. I made a scallion pancake out of besan (chickpea) flour. I added around 1/4 c of sesame seeds to the cup of besan flour and that was the only fat in the meal. I sauted cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, chiles, red bell pepper, mushrooms with soy sauce, 5 spice powder and finished it with cilantro and lime juice. It was extremely filling and so healthy. I had it for dinner two nights ina row. The batter made 2 12 inch pancakes which kept well in the fridge for the next night. I think I may play around with this recipe a bit to see if I can replace tortillas with besan "crepes". It would up the nutritional profile of the food big time and calorie wise, it is the same as white flour.
This is when a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray comes in handy!

Blurry, but oh so healthy! This is where a very hot, seasoned cast iron comes in handy. With just a spray of cooking spray, you can really get the best out of your veggies. See that spatula? I refer to it as "my lucky spatula". It was my moms and I used to cook with it when I was a little girl. I have kept it and moved it accross country. I love it and use it all the time.
I am in love with organic baby spinach and even living on my own, I go through at least 3 9 oz packages a week. I have been eating a huge salad for breakfast almost everyday. This was simple, just topped with walnuts, roasted red pepper, spices and my low fat flax dressing.
This eggplant was delicious, sauted in the cast iron with a bit of olive oil spray, onions, garlic, dried spices and fresh thyme. The leftovers sit in my freezer, waiting to be used in marinara and lasagna later in the week.
Here's some simple DAHL.. click for the recipe. Dahl certainly isn't a pretty meal, but my kids LOVE it. They request it and I like to make it weekly for them. It is so healthy and delicious. I served this with brown rice.
I have quite a few new recipes in my head that I'm going to test this week. I'm getting much more comfortable cooking for myself and figuring it all out.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I'm sure it's no secret that I love pasta. Whole wheat rotini paired beautifully with this awesome homemade pasta sauce. I scored some fabulous fresh basil and have been using it. After I took the pic, I tore it and it made the perfect accent to the spicy tomatoes. I complimented this meal with a spinach salad topped with dry fried, marinated tofu cubes. No pic of that. I really need to bring MY dishes to this apartment. I only have one bowl (as seen above, below and in so many of the food pics I have taken since moving!) that I like to photograph food in.
I love lentils and cook them in so many different ways. I think this may be one of my favorites! It's my Chipotle Kissed Lentil Soup with Fresh Basil. The tomato/lentil combination is enhanced with the smallest amount of spice and smokiness. It is a simple soup, only relying on one dried spice and few veggies to bring out the flavor of the lentils. Fresh basil makes everything better.
These are 100% whole wheat sandwich buns. I love King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour. It is the best of both worlds, but 100% whole grain nutrition. I am going to slice them up and keep them in my freezer so they don't spoil.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Black Eyed Peas and Greens Pizzarole

Peas and Greens Polenta Pizzarole

I am not from the south, but I take tradition from wherever it suits me! Of course, this particular superstition allows me to cook with two of my favorite ingredients: beans and greens! I adore black eyed peas, but forget about them. If you do a search through my blog, you will only find a couple of posts devoted to these lovely legumes. Here is a LINK to last years New Years day dishes, Greek inspired black eyed pea collard rolls with a lemon tahini sauce. I also made some arugula and black eyed pea pesto. Here's a recipe for my delicious Summer Black Eyed Pea spread. Who says you have to have this in the summer? I say it's perfect to have year round, so if you have extra peas on hand, make it and enjoy!

My dish yesterday was a Pizzarole. If Rachel Ray can make up words, then so can i! I made a "crust" out of chipotle spiced polenta. The polenta was simple, just cormeal, chipotle, veggie stock and nutritional yeast. I also started cooking the dried peas at this time.
Then, I sauted peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms along with the peas with smoked sea salt, pepper fresh thyme.
I added around 4 oz of fresh baby spinach to the crust, then topped with the veggies mixture and ran it under the broiler. I topped my serving with a very low fat chipotle orange flax vinaigrette and ate it with a bunch of roasted broccoli on the side (also drizzled with the vinaigrette).
YUMO!... and if you used canned peas, it would have been ready in 30 minutes. Take that Rachel Ray.