Monday, January 17, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Soup and Stuffed Zucchini

These dishes are two of my favorite things lately!

I got the Roasted Cauliflower Soup recipe from a blog post on the Dallas Morning News Eats Blog. I can't find a link to the original post, but here is what it said...

'Remove the stems and leaves from a head of cauliflower, and break it up into big chunks. Place them on a baking sheet, brush them lightly with olive oil, and roast in a 400-degree oven for a half-hour, or until golden-brown, as shown. Simmer a quart of good-quality chicken broth (I use the organic ones that come in a box from either Central Market or Whole Foods), cut each of those big chunks in half or so, add them to the broth and simmer about ten minutes, or until completely tender. Puree in a blender or food processor (you'll probably need to do so in batches), then season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper. If you used a very large cauliflower, you may need to add additional broth to get the right consistency (as thick or thin as you like); I added about 3/4 cup. This holds well if you want to make it ahead then reheat."

This is as simple as it sounds. I roast cauliflower....

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Then I simmer it for awhile in chicken broth. I don't use expensive broth - we're pretty OK with Great Value Chicken Broth around here. I add a little salt and white pepper if needed. Then I puree it with my immersion blender. Ridiculously easy. We love it - Todd says it is like potato soup taken up three notches.

Our other favorite thing is stuffed zucchini. It all started with this post on YumSugar...Fast and Easy Stuffed Zucchini. I have made it several times now. The ingredients are so interchangeable - I have used several different nuts, cheeses, etc.

Here are the basic ingredients that she calls for...

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 medium zucchini
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil

I double the garlic (I always do in every recipe - we love garlic), and I use whatever nuts, cheese, and beans are on sale at Sprouts. Tonight I used toasted pecans b/c my mama brought me some from Monroe, and Parm-Regg, and chickpeas...because that's what I had. Also, I chop up the zucchini that I remove and add that to the stuffing - hate to let any good veggie go to waste. I do not use nearly as much oil as she calls for. I just use a tiny bit.

The most important change I made from the original is that I DO NOT cover it with tin foil while baking. When it isn't covered, the quinoa toasts and turns into delicious little crunchy bits. So very yummy and a very unique texture. (I have tried baking it covered. It is NOT the same at all.)

Here is the stuffing in the bowl...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Before going in the oven...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

The final product. Delicious...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Monday, March 22, 2010

Veggie Pizza and Veggie Souvlaki

Last Friday night, we had a yummy veggie pizza!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Later this weekend, I started planning to make veggie fajitas. Then it dawned on me that what I was really craving was veggie souvlaki from Ziziki's down in Dallas. So I decided to try to recreate it.

The basics of this are...
veggies (roasted potatoes and grilled everything else)
pita bread
tzatziki sauce

I marinated the veggies overnight. I did mushrooms, peppers, red onions, asparagus, zucchini, and yellow squash. I wanted little tomatoes...but they were just too darned expensive!!!

1/2 cup lemon juice
3T olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp fresh oregano

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

When we were ready to cook, we threaded them on skewers. Then I sprinkled them with Cavender's Greek Seasoning. I meant to do that earlier but forgot.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

I roasted new potatoes in the oven with more Cavender's and a bit of olive oil.

I made whole wheat pitas - super easy. I used regular whole wheat flour in place of the whole wheat white that it calls for.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

And I made some fresh tzatziki sauce. I won't share my recipe b/c I'll try another one next time. But it's pretty basic.

This was delicious. A huge hit for the grown ups. The boys ate pitas and turkey. We agreed that the leftovers were even better for lunch today.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Recipe Link

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing


2 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

* 8 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices
* 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
* 1 large red bell pepper
* 4 (1-ounce) slices ciabatta bread
* 2 tablespoons refrigerated pesto
* 1 cup baby arugula
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft goat cheese


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Arrange bell pepper halves, skin sides up, on baking sheet with eggplant; flatten with hand. Broil 4 minutes; turn eggplant over (do not turn bell pepper over). Broil an additional 4 minutes; remove eggplant from pan. Broil bell pepper an additional 7 minutes or until blackened. Place bell pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand for 15 minutes; peel and discard skin.

3. Broil bread slices for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on each of 2 bread slices. Layer each bread slice, pesto side up, with 2 eggplant slices, 1 bell pepper half, and 2 eggplant slices. Toss arugula with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and black pepper; divide arugula mixture evenly between sandwiches. Spread 2 tablespoons goat cheese over each of 2 remaining bread slices; place, cheese side down, on sandwiches.

I had to make some changes to this one...

First of all, they didn't have ciabatta bread at my grocery that was fat enough for sandwiches. So I did a whole grain loaf and sliced it myself. It worked fine, although I do love ciabatta.

Next, I decided to do open faced sandwiches. There was no way all of that was going to fit in one sandwich...and two halves makes it last longer and seem like I'm getting more.

Also I doubled everything so we will have leftovers.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

My final word...we thought these were really good, if you like eggplant. There's A LOT of eggplant in here. I LOVED the flavors of the goat cheese, pesto, eggplant, pepper, and arugula. It says in the magazine that these hold up well for the lunchbox - we shall see. I thought the prep and cleanup were fast, and they'll be even fast next time. Also, I'm thinking of doing open faced sandwiches with cucumbers or portabellas in place of the eggplant. I think that would be yummy!

I served it with the Tomato-Parmesan Soup that was mentioned in the recipe. I used the Pacific boxed soup. If you haven't tried it, you should. It is sinfully good.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

I did these addins, and it was delicioso!

Combine 2 cups commercial boxed tomato soup, 1/4 cup half-and-half, 1/2 tsp dried basil, and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cook in a small saucepan over med heat 8 min or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 2 Tbl grade fresh parm regg.

We also sometimes add red pepper flakes. We just forgot tonight, and now that I think of it, I'm so sad. lol. The red pepper flakes are the best part.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oven-Fried Chicken Parmesan

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Recipe Link

This chicken parmesan recipe came out in this month's Dinner Tonight section (fast recipes) of Cooking Light, and it got rave reviews at my house tonight. I served with polenta and salad, as pictured.

I pounded the chicken flat - I think that was the only modification I made. It had a nice crispy panko crust that we enjoyed. I wouldn't call it super-fast..but I started at 4:50 and was done by 5:35 with all of it. That's pretty quick for me!

Leo worked on his Bendaroos while we ate.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Then Henry wanted me to take a picture of his food, too.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

They usually don't stay at the table through all of dinner. Tonight we got some entertainment. That Elmo thing is the LOUDEST toy ever - Thanks a million, Aunt LeeLee.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rice Salad Primavera

This is one of my favorite summery dishes this year. I usually leave out the tofu and serve it as a side. I like it b/c you can make it early (use the oven before it's too hot), and then enjoy it for dinner.

Rice Salad Primavera
from Vegetarian Times, July/Aug 2009

1 cup basmati rice (I do Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice instead of this)
1 8-oz pkg baked flavored tofu, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small cucumber peeled, quartered, and sliced (1/2 cup)
1 small yellow squash, diced (1/2 cup)
2 Tbs. rec wine vinegar
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil

1. bring rice and 2 cups water to a boil in covered saucepan. reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and has absorbed all water. Cool. Transfer to large bowl. (I do Alton Brown's baked brown rice, instead of this)

2. Stir tofu, tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and squash into rice.

3. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk in oil until mixture forms smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4. Stir vinaigrette mixture into rice mixture. Chill well before serving.

Per 1- cup serving: 246 cal, 9g protein, 12 g total fat (2g sat), 2 g fiber

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

Recipe Link

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

I saw this recipe in the paper, and thought it had potential as yummy comfort food that is also healthy. It's so hard to find casseroles that don't use "Cream of ..." soups...and I just don't eat those. Not even the "low fat" soups.

This one is definitely a winner for us. I added way more spice to the meat than it called for - more cumin, and I also added dried chipotle powder and ancho powder. A little red pepper flakes for good measure. We like it hot!

It called for 3 overlapping tortillas in both layers...I didn't really like that. So I did this...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

I was low on sour cream, but it didn't really matter. For the second layer, I smeared the sour cream on the tortillas before adding the meat mixture. That worked better than this...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

This is the finished casserole...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Then we added lettuce, tomato, and cilantro. Very, very good! I froze one, so I'll see how that turns out in a few weeks.

Enchilada Casserole

02:00 PM CDT on Sunday, May 17, 2009

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 cups salsa

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas

¾ cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
[Click image for a larger version] LARRY CROWE/The Associated Press
LARRY CROWE/The Associated Press

Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the meat, then stir in the salsa, beans, salad dressing, taco seasoning and cumin.

Arrange 3 tortillas in the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the meat mixture over the tortillas, then top with half each of the sour cream and cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas, then repeat the layering with remaining meat, sour cream and cheese.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro.

Makes 8 servings.

PER SERVING: Calories 357 Fat 12 g (5 g sat)

Cholesterol 45 mg Sodium 864 mg Fiber 3 g

Carbohydrates 37 g Protein 23 g

SOURCE: The Associated Press/March 2009 Taste of Home Healthy Cooking

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Favorite Weeknight Meals

Thai Pesto Shrimp (has a link w/in the recipe to the coconut rice)

Beef Cheese and Noodle Bake

Tex Mex Pasta Salad

Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Thighs (prepare the night before)

Herb Flounder with Lemon Vinaigrette (I use tilapia.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce
I use porcini (baby bellas) or a mixture of mushrooms. I've never bought the "exotic blend." You can get good prices on mushrooms at the asian markets.

Cornmeal-Battered Oven-Fried Catfish

Spaghetti Alla Norma

Shrimp Pad Thai

Pork Piccata

Slow-Cooker Veggie Chili

Mini Meat Loaves

Chicken and Basil Calzones (I use turkey.)

Chicken Supreme

Cajun Salmon Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

Cajun Catfish
(3 pts when you use 1 tsp butter)
Cajun Spiced Catfish Rub (I make a jar of this by increasing the amounts so I have it on hand)
for 4 Fillets
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all spices. Brush fish with oil or butter. Sprinkle on the spices. Cook on grill, broiler pan, George Foreman, etc.

Lentil Tacos (from the incomparable CarlaP)used for taco salad, tacos, burritos, etc.
(2oz baked chips 4pts, lettuce 0, tomatoes , red onion 0, 2% cheese 2pts, 1/2 cup lentils 4pts...10 POINTS TOTAL)

(see notes at end)


1 cup finely chopped onion (I've used frozen before)
1 garlic clove, minced (I use 1/2 tsp. ready-minced)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed (I use the brown/green)
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2-1/2 cups chicken broth (or beef broth) (you can use one can of Swanson's plus some water)
1 cup salsa (I skip this)
12 hard taco shells (we do soft)


In a large non-stick skillet (that has a lid), saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and
stir for 1 minute.

Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for
6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in salsa.

(heat up your taco shells while doing the last part of the above)

Spoon about 1/4 cup into each taco shell and top with your favorite taco fixin's.

This taco filling heats up really well in the microwave the
next day and is just as delicious as the first night.

Carla's comments:

I can never make this work with the red lentils so I use green/brown ones and cook longer w/ more liquid. You are better off w/ less liquid and adding more if they are
too crunchy after the cooking time.
I usually make this in the crock pot, with green lentils, using the amounts listed,
cooking on high until it's done....couple hours maybe?
When I do crock pot, I just dump everything in together at once. It actually works better for me in the crock pot.
I always make double and freeze 1/2
Add a little cayenne pepper if you like it spicy!
This makes great nacho topping too or base for taco salad too!

**Holly's comments** I prefer french green lentils for this (whole foods), but brown are good too. I usually add some chopped chipotles in adobo (from a can in the Mexican section. a little bit will do)I ALWAYS do the whole recipe in the crockpot - no sauteeing, etc. I just dump it all in and cook. But no oil, since that's for the sauteeing.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast - lemon pepper seasoning on a breast...grill...3points.

Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice The best brown rice EVER. Also pointed out to me by CarlaP. I don't put the butter in.

My side dish staples on weeknights are...
steamed broccoli
fauxtatoes (mashed cauli with some smart balance and ff sour cream. i buy frozen cauli)
green beans - put some red onion slices on top, spray with cooking spray, broil a few minutes
arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and this dressing...
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Stir well with a whisk.

Gradually add 2 Tbsp olive oil to vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Okra and Tomatoes - sack of frozen okra and a can of italian tomatoes. heat in skillet. voila.

new potatoes with lemon and dill

Green Rice - bake the brown rice above. Add one bunch chopped cilantro, 3 or so bunches chopped green onions, some lime juice, salt, and smart balance. Good with Mexican dishes.