Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

I've been meaning to post this on here for months, but just came across it again. I'm not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes cooked...well...sweetly. (I'm more of an oven-fries kind of girl).... So when I was assigned sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, I panicked a little. Bless AllRecipes.com, though, where I found this recipe. It got lots of compliments, and even I enjoyed it! (That's saying a lot, for the record). =)

5 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 2)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Boil or bake sweet potatoes until soft. In a large bowl, mash.
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. To the mashed sweet potatoes, add salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and heavy cream {I MIGHT have added an extra splash or two of cream...and it MIGHT have been mighty tasty to do so}. Mix together thoroughly.
4. Spread mixture in a lightly greased 9x13" pan
5. In medium bowl, combine butter, flour, brown sugar and pecans. Mix with a pastry blender to the consistency of coarse meal. Sprinkle over potato mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vegetarian Recipes

Also in response to Tori's request, my cooking blog has lots of vegetarian recipes---prob'ly 95% of them have no meat. Too many to re-post here, but you're welcome to have a look!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tori's Request

In response to Tori's request, I'm posting six of my favorite tried-and-true vegetarian meals. (Let me know if you want more recipes like these.)

If you want to browse for more vegetarian meal ideas online, I often use these websites: Peggy's Kitchen at the Mothering website, VegCooking, and the Food Network's Vegetarian section.

And to further motivate you in your quest to eat less meat, I really recommend this article by Mark Bittman and this one by Michael Pollan (neither of whom are vegetarians, by the way)... I'm not trying to go all veg-evangelical on you, but I think they're important issues to think about :)

Red Bean and Quinoa Chili

(from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair)

2 cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoon salt
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed in warm water & drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 can organic tomato sauce, low salt (about 2 cups)
1 cup water

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and sauté until tender. Add salt, garlic, pepper and spices; sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add rinsed quinoa and stir in. Add corn, tomato sauce, and water to onion/quinoa mixture. Simmer together 20 minutes. Add beans to the pot and simmer another 15 minutes. Serve with grated cheese and tortillas.

(Note: If you've never tried quinoa, you should! It's a super-grain that provides a complete protein. You should be able to find it at your grocery store; if not, try a health-foods store.)

Brown Rice and Black Bean Pilaf

(by Ellie Krieger)


* 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
* 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
* 1 stalk celery, finely diced
* 1 large carrot, finely diced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
* 1 (15.5 ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley leaves


Place rice and chicken broth in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook rice, covered, until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, celery, carrot, cumin and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes. Stir in black beans and cook until just warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.

Combine onion-black bean mixture and hot rice in a serving bowl and toss to combine. Garnish with parsley.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

(by Giada de Laurentiis)


* 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
* 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 4 cremini mushrooms, halved
* 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
* 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
* 1 pound penne pasta
* 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
* 1 cup grated fontina cheese
* 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
* 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
* 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

(Note: I never have fontina cheese on hand, so I've always just made this with all mozzarella. It is sooo delicious and satisfying. You can mix and match the veggies depending on what you like.)

Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Stew

(by Rachael Ray)


* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 cans chickpeas, drained
* 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2/3 palmful
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* Salt and pepper
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
* 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
* 1 cup plain yogurt (optional)
* Warm pita, any flavor or variety, toasted (optional)


Heat a medium pot with extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Grind the chickpeas and onion in food processor. Add to pot and cook 5 minutes to sweeten onion. Season the chickpeas with cumin, cardamom, turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir in stock, then tomatoes. Simmer soup 5 to 10 minutes to combine flavors. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and warm pita for dipping.

(Note: When I make this, I usually just grind one can of chickpeas; I leave the other can whole for some textural variety. I like to serve this stew over couscous, I don't usually do the yogurt and pita thing.)

Guacamole Salad

(by Ina Mae Garten)


* 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/2 cup small diced red onion
* 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
* 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced


Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

(Note: This is an amazing side dish, but it would also be really yummy served over romaine as a main dish salad. I usually leave out the onions, jalapenos and cayenne because I don't like things too spicy.)

Lentils and Potatoes with Curry

(from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

1 c. dried brown lentils, washed and picked clean
3 1/2 c. water, vegetable broth, or coconut milk
1 T. curry powder
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper

1) Combine the lentils, liquid and curry powder in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils start to absorb the water a bit, about 15 minutes.

2) Add the potatoes and cover the pan copletely. Cook, undisturbed, for 10 minutes or so, then stir gently and check to make sure the lentils aren't too dry. If they are, add a little more liquid. Add salt as the lentils become tender.

3) Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and beginning to turn to mush and the potatoes are tender at the center, another 5 to 10 minutes; add liquid if necessary. The mixture should be moist but not soupy. Add lots of black better, stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning and serve. You can garnish with plain yogurt and cilantro, if you like.

(My note: I like to serve this with brown rice or naan bread.)