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Valerie Bertinelli’s LOL Martini October 27, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
22 comments

Valerie Bertinelli has a cooking show.

On a recent show, she blanched broccoli florets and matchstick carrots, dropped them into an ice bath to keep the colors vibrant, and tossed the veggies with a quick Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (mustard, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil) and chopped walnuts.

The dish looked awesome!  I must give it a try.

She also made a LOL Martini with limoncello, lemon vodka, orange juice, orange liqueur, and lime juice ~ I would enjoy that too!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Spanish Romesco Dip October 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
20 comments

mr-rossiNext time it’s your turn to serve Tapas, here’s a yummy dip from the Catalonia region of Spain.

Spanish Romesco Dip

1/2 cup whole almonds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
8 oz. roasted red bell pepper
1 14-oz. can fire roasted diced tomato (with or without peppers)
1/4 c. chopped onion (optional: sauté first)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp sherry or red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

With food processor or Ninja running, drop almonds and garlic cloves into the chute. Process until fine.  Add remaining ingredients and process until almost smooth.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

This dip is delicious with tortilla chips, Fritos, pretzels, pita, crackers, bruschetta, seafood, pasta, etc.  I added some to sauteed zucchini, peppers, and onions with excellent results.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Before And After October 17, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
41 comments

Before I began the wheat-free experiment mid-September, we ate delicious meals of this and that:

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Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce * Steamed Broccoli & Carrots * Black Bean Salsa * Sliced Apple * 1/2 a Bagel

Since going wheat-free, we still eat this and that . . . I just don’t eat that other thing.

Here’s an example of an impromptu mix & match wheat-free lunch thrown together from “fixings” in the fridge and pantry:

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Carrot & Celery Sticks * Pepperocini * Hummus * Fritos * Black Bean Salsa * Broccoli Florets with Italian Vinaigrette

I do a bit more planning for dinners, but not much.  Here’s an example of a fresh from the oven wheat-free dinner:

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Twice Baked Potato * Roasted Asparagus * Roasted Cauliflower * Roasted Carrots * Mashed Sweet Potato * Pushcart Onions  & Peppers

Update: I’m still enjoying numerous benefits from eating wheat-free (better sleep, less neck pain, better digestion, less inflammation, better mood, less mental fog, better energy, less hunger) so I haven’t been tempted to add wheat back into my diet.  Yet.

Aah . . . that’s better!

You Can’t Beat Beets! October 13, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
28 comments

Mr-RossiThe Farmer’s Market started up again on Saturday, October 1st, after a summer hiatus.  The Market, which runs from October to May (instead of May to October), includes artisans, musicians, bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and farmers.

I love seeing how far our veggie dollars go at the Market. Last visit, we spent a grand total of $18 and came home with this:

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kale * cucumbers * iceberg lettuce * broccoli * romaine * green peppers * zucchini * baking potatoes * sweet potatoes * beets * beet greens

What bounty!

Once home, I process the produce so that it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice:

* Wash and spin the lettuce
* Chop and sauté the beet greens and kale
* Steam or blanch the broccoli (or just cut it into florets for roasting)
* Store the potatoes and sweet potatoes in our “root cellar”
* Stash most of the cukes, peppers, and zucchini in the fridge

Last week, before leaving the kitchen, I made a pot of wheat-free Minestrone soup, using millet instead of macaroni.

By the time I finished chopping and dropping, the robust and hearty harvest soup included onions, peppers, zucchini, beets, beet greens, broccoli, carrots, celery, and tomato sauce.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Do you frequent Farmer’s Markets in season?

EASY Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies September 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Less IS More, Vegetarian Recipes.
42 comments

Mickey-Ta-DaaaHere’s a quick and easy recipe for a healthy and portable breakfast treat.

Mash 2 ripe bananas.  Stir in one cup of Quick Oats.  Add a pinch of spice ~ cinnamon, ginger, allspice, apple pie spice, or your fave.

Add other items of interest (e.g., coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, dried cherries, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.).

I didn’t have coconut or chocolate chips . . . so I chopped up a couple of miniature Almond Joy chocolate bars.   Yum!  

Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

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Aah . . . that’s easy!

Pushcart Onions September 5, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
28 comments

As a child, we lived an hour from the Big Apple.

Street cart vendors sold roasted chestnuts in winter and Sabrett Hotdogs smothered in Pushcart Onions in summer.

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Here’s a delicious recipe for New York Pushcart Onion Sauce (from Mr. Food Cooks Real American)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 med. onions, halved and sliced
1/4 cup Heinz catsup
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. chili powder
dash of hot pepper sauce
dash of salt
1/2 cup water

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat; add the onion slices and saute for 7-13 minutes, until golden and limp.

Optional: add green pepper with the onions.

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Mix together the remaining ingredients and stir into onions.

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-13 minutes.
Serve hot over hotdogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken.

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Also delicious in or alongside veggie wraps, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, or as a dip with Fritos or tortilla chips.

I sterilized a jar in boiling water to fill for the fridge.

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And froze the rest to enjoy later.

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Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Spanakopita Redux April 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Less IS More, Vegetarian Recipes.
26 comments

We recently revisited and revised a classic ~ Spanakopita.

To make the classic Greek dish, layer tedious layer upon tedious layer of phyllo dough to make the crust . . . AFTER slathering each tissue-paper-thin-sheet with a gallon of butter.

To save time and calories, make Spanakopita Quesadillas using fat-free tortillas in place of the phyllo/butter crust.

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On Superbowl Sunday, we served Spanakopita Quesadillas with Hummus, Tabbouli, Kalamata Olives, Peppers, and Black Bean Salsa.

Here’s an EASY recipe for Black Bean Salsa:

Combine 2-3 diced tomatoes with a 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Add a few dashes of dried onion, dried garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Stir and chill.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Here’s an even EASIER recipe for Black Bean Salsa:

Combine a can of Ro*Tel Tomatoes and Chile Peppers (drained) with a 15 oz. can of black beans (drained and rinsed).

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Spanakopita Filling for Quesadillas

Saute an onion in 2 tsp. olive oil.  Add a bag of chopped spinach or kale.  Once the onions and greens are wilted, add 2 oz. feta cheese, 2 Tbsp. grated parmeson, 1 1/2 tsp oregano (or dill), 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Spanakopita filling is also delicious mixed with rice or pasta or used as a topping for a Spinach Pizza or in Spinach Crescent Rolls (spread 2 tsp. of filling on crescent rolls before rolling and baking).

Aah . . . that’s YUMMY!

“Hunger Never Saw Bad Bread.” April 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
28 comments

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“Hunger never saw bad bread.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

Ben was so right!  Man cannot live by bread alone . . . but it’s a start!  Here’s two quick breads ~> Ben Franklin’s Beer Bread and Irish Soda Bread.

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Eat all you want . . . then make more!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Curried Quinoi with Potatoes & Spinach November 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
38 comments

I often cook by experimenting with ingredients to come up with something “different.”  One step leads to the next to the next.

On Halloween, I went into the kitchen to mix up some Tabbouli and a batch of Black Bean Salsa ~ two favorite sides.

One . . .

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Two . . .

2014-10-31 14-45-12_0005I noticed two onions that needed cooking so I chopped them and tossed them into a saute pan with a bit of oil.

I added a couple of cubed potatoes to the pot.

Since that looked like the beginnings of Tattie Soup, I added a vegetarian bouillon cube and 2 cups of liquid (1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of tomato infused liquid drained from the can of Ro*Tel used for the Black Bean Salsa).

At that point, I remembered I had 1/2 cup of Tikki Masala in the fridge.  So I stirred that in, sure we’d enjoy a hearty bowl of Curried Potato Soup while watching Halloween Specials.

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Then I decided to defrost and add a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach to the mix.

After the soup morphed into Curried Potato and Spinach Soup, I opened the pantry and saw some organic quinoi that longed to jump into the jacuzzi.  I checked the instructions ~ ready in 15 minutes, the same cooking time as the potatoes.  Perfect!

I measured out 1/2 a cup, rinsed it, and stirred it in.  After the mixture came to a boil, I turned it down and let it simmer until the potatoes were tender, the quinoi was cooked, and most of the liquid was absorbed.

I took a quick taste.

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Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Do you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen?  Or would you rather follow a recipe?  (Or order take out?)

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies October 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
46 comments

This recipe comes to you courtesy of Nancy (“Keep moving!”) Tex:

They say it’s your birthday
Happy Birthday to Ya!

Happy Birthday NT!

* * *

As I read NT’s post, When Chickpeas and Chocolate Chips Collide, I knew I had to give these healthy high fiber cookies a try . . . with a few modifications because I am (a) a lazy cook who (b) loves rum:

* The recipe called for natural peanut butter.  I hate measuring peanut butter. With a passion.  It’s so S~T~I~C~K~Y!  I substituted 3/4 c. roasted salted peanuts (ground up peanuts => natural peanut butter).

* The recipe called for vanilla extract.  I’m not a baker and don’t keep vanilla extract in the pantry.   I do keep rum around.  Rum => Yum!

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 1 1/2 c. chickpeas (15 oz. can, drained and rinsed) with 3/4 c. roasted salted peanuts.  Pulse in your processor until almost smooth.

Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or rum), 1/4 c. honey (or agave or maple syrup), and 1 tsp baking powder.  Process until mixture forms a dough ball.

Toss the dough ball into a bowl.

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Add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Fold the chips into the dough.

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Form into 1 1/2″ balls and place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

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Tip:  Use an ice cream scoop to scoop up the dough.

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Press the tops down with a fork.

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Bake for 10 minutes.  Try one to see if it’s done.

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Press the tops down (again) and bake for 2 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.

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These are not quite as good as Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies BUT they are MUCH better for you.

They omit the empty calories (butter, white flour, and white sugar) and add in good-for-you protein and fiber from both peanuts and garbanzo beans.

Enjoy them.  Guilt free.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you’re allergic to peanuts, you might try these with almonds and Amaretto or hazelnuts and Frangelica.