You Can’t Beet This!

May 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Beets are a personal favorite vegetable.  They have it all: gorgeous color, sweet flavor, and numerous nutrients.  This beet salad is simple and makes a great addition to any meal.  It also makes a great appetizer.  Dwight Schrute would approve!

You will need: 2-3 large beets and feta cheese (crumbled).

Boil and peel beets (see previous beet posts for guidance).  Cut the beets into semi-circles and arrange on a plate.  Crumble the feta cheese over the arranged beets and serve.  People, I can’t make this any easier.

I can’t help myself — I had to take a close-up.  🙂

Cucumber + Dill + Lemon = Yum

May 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is no flavor more refreshing than a cool cucumber… unless you make this cucumber + dill + lemon salad.  Start with two large cucumbers, a bunch of dill, one lemon, and salt.

Cut the cucumber into “D” shaped pieces and chop the dill (removing the tough stick parts).  Combine the cucumbers and dill in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the salad.  Salt to taste.

This makes a perfect light lunch on a hot summer day or a delightful side salad.

Baked Eggplant

May 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Eggplant is such a great vegetable to grow in your garden.  The plants are easy to grow (like a squash) and they give you eggplants all summer long.  It is best to plant eggplants in the shade and to water them in the morning, to prevent mold from growing on the leaves.  If you aren’t growing your own eggplants this summer, pick up some from your local farmers’ market.  Make sure you allow an extra hour to salt your eggplants, before cooking them.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggplants (about 4 lbs.), trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • coarse salt
  • olive oil
  • 12 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 12 oz. package of Yves veggie ground round
  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1  1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 32 0z. jar spaghetti sauce (or your own homemade sauce)
  • 1  8 oz. ball of fresh-water packed mozzarella, drained and sliced

Directions:

1.  Slice eggplants length wise.  Place the eggplant on a paper towel, in a single layer, and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.  Let sit for 1 hour.  After an hour, rinse off the salt, and dry thoroughly.

2.  Set oven to broil.   position oven rack 6 inches from the broiler.  Place the eggplant on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Brush both sides of the  eggplant with olive oil.  Broil the eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Repeat this process until all of the eggplant has been cooked.

3.  While the eggplant is cooling, sweat the chopped onions in a saute pan with about 1 tbsp. olive oil.  When onions are translucent, add the veggie ground round and cook until browned.  Let cool to room temperature.

4.  While onion mixture is cooling, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, chopped spinach, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the cooled veggie ground round and onion mixture.  Mix until combined.

5.  Spread part of the spaghetti sauce onto a 15x10x2 baking dish (you want to cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of sauce).

6.  Put a single layer of the broiled eggplant onto the sauce at the bottom of the pan.  Make sure the eggplant covers the whole pan.  Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the single layer of eggplants.  Repeat this step with two more layers of eggplant and the ricotta mixture.  After you are done you should have a layer of eggplant (on the bottom), ricotta, eggplant, ricotta, eggplant, and ricotta (on the top).

7.  Top the ricotta mixture with the rest of the spaghetti sauce.  Place the sliced mozzarella on top of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

8.  Put foil over the baking dish and place it in the oven for 40 minutes.  Once heated all the way through, uncover the eggplant and bake until the mozzarella cheese is golden (about another 15- 20 minutes).  While the eggplant is baking, cook the whole wheat spaghetti according to the directions on its packaging.

Spinach Artichoke Orzo Salad All Week

May 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a bag of store-bought fresh spinach
  • 32 oz. artichokes (jar or canned)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lite Italian dressing, plus more to taste
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups cheery tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered
  • 1 box orzo
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Combine artichokes, spinach, Parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing in a Ziploc bag and marinate for 1-2 hours.

2.  Meanwhile, cook orzo according to the directions on packaging.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Let cool to room temperature.

3.  Cut the tomatoes and chop the bell pepper.  Put them into a large bowl.  Stir in the cooled orzo pasta.

4.  Chop the  artichoke and spinach (try to keep all of the dressing in the bag).  Add them to the pasta.  Add the dressing and Parmesan cheese from the marinated artichokes (inside the Ziploc bag) to the bowl.  Toss everything together.  Add pepper and more dressing to taste.

Orange and Green Crispy Asian Salad

May 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is a great crunchy salad that is healthy for you and tastes great.  Try mixing up the ingredients and adding mandarin oranges.

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange bell pepper or about 5-6 small orange peppers, cut into the size and shape of a toothpick
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 of a cucumber (English or Japanese), cut into the size and shape of a toothpick
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into the size and shape of a toothpick
  • sesame dressing to taste
  • pepper

Directions:

1.  Cut all of the vegetables and put them in a medium-sized bowl.

2.  Add in the almonds, pepper,  and the dressing.  Toss and taste.  Add more dressing to taste.

I served this crunchy salad as a side with teriyaki pineapple veggie burgers and sweet potato fries.  It was delicious.

Low Calorie Cheesecake whenever

May 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love cheesecake.  Some might even think I am lucky because I have a Cheesecake Factory eight blocks away from where I live.   Despite this cheesecake making powerhouse being so close to where I live, I never get cheesecake from the restaurnt.  A few years ago I ordered a piece of cheesecake and it came to my table frozen!  Since then, I pass when someone wants to go there for dinner or dessert.  Instead, I have decided to make my own cheesecake at home.  This verion has 280 calories per serving (which is pretty good for cheesecake).  So, make the piece as big or small as you want them,eat up, and enjoy every bite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 cups and 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 32 oz. container low-fat cottage cheese
  • 16  oz. neufchâtel cheese (2 packages)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325° F.  Drain cottage cheese in a strainer for 15-20 minutes.

2.  While cottage cheese is draining, put 1 package of graham crackers into a food processor.  Pulse until all of the graham crackers have turned into crumbs.  Make sure you have 1 cup pf graham cracker crumbs.  You may need to add more than a package of graham crackers to the food processor.

3.  Add 1 cup pf graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1 tbsp. of sugar to a bowl.  Stir until combined.

4.  Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake until golden brown, around 12 minutes.

5.  While the graham cracker crust is baking, put the drained cottage cheese into the food processor and pulse until smooth.  Once smooth, add the neufchâtel cheese and 2 cups sugar to the food processor.  Blend until no lumps remain.

6.  When your cheese mixture is smooth, add flour, vanilla, lemon zest, eggs, egg whites, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Scape the inside of the food processor bowl and blend again for about 1 minute.

7.  Pour the blended cheese mixture  on top of the graham cracker crust.  Bake the cheesecake until edges are puffy and the center barely jiggles when the pan is gently shaken.  This will take anywhere between 1  1/2 -2 hours.  Check it at an hour and a half and then every 10 minutes after.

8.  While cheesecake is cooling on a rack, mix together the Greek yogurt and remaining 1 tbsp. sugar.  Spread the yogurt mixture over the top of the cheesecake and cool all the way through.  Chill, covered with foil, for at leat 4 hours before serving.

Veggie Loaf on Monday

May 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

As a kid I never could chime in about the horror of my mom making meat loaf (because she never did).  I always see meatloaf available as a dinner or sandwich in great dinner type restaurants.  As a vegetarian, I always felt a little left out.  Who was going to make a meatless version of the meat loaf for us veggies?  Well, I am happy to announce that I have.  Oh, I guess I should add that my meat loving husband enjoyed it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 cup  grated cheddar
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 and 1/2 carrots, finely grated
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. package of Yves veggie ground round

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a medium-sized bowl, grate the carrots.

2.  Add breadcrumbs, milk, ketchup, cheese, scallions, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and veggie ground round to the bowl with the carrots.  Gently stir to combine

3.  Pour and form mixture into a 2 1/2 x 4 inch loaf pan.  Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

This meal goes well with the roasted potatoes, green beans, and tomatoes side dish.

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