Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roasted Eggplant Un-meatballs

Sorry about the picture quality (not that you aren't used to it by now). For one my camera is broken and two...........

These went REALLY fast! Note the little hand grabbing for more. I had hardly enough time to take a picture before I was swarmed by my little man asking for "more, more, peeeeese". I think I am really getting the hang of un-meatballs, and vegetarian burgers. These held their shape and totally passed the toddler test. There are two main tricks, a food processor, and chilling the dough, (or whatever you call it) before cooking. I actually managed to make these on one of the busiest weeks we've had in a while. I was in need of one of my favorite comfort foods...spaghetti and meatballs.....err....rather brown rice pasta and roasted eggplant un-meatballs. I don't know that this would fool a carnivore, but I think it was pretty tasty in it's own right. It was received well by all the family members, even my eggplant hating husband. Be leanient with the amounts in this recipe, depending on the size of the veggies you may need more or less bread crumbs, sauce, etc. The most important thing is that the dough can be shaped easily, and holds together well.

1 eggplant
2 onions
6 cloves of garlic (divided)
olive oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 block of cream cheese
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

I chopped up the eggplant and onion, peeled and crushed 4 cloves of garlic. I then mixed the veggies in a big bowl with a little olive oil and salt, and roasted them in a baking pan at 375 degrees (my oven runs hot) for about 20 minutes, stirring half way through. After they had cooled, I threw them in the food processor with the cream cheese, sauce, and two remaining peeled cloves of garlic. I added bread crumbs until the dough was thick and easy to shape (about 1 1/2 cups) . You could add salt at this point if you feel it needs it, I didn't. I shaped all the dough into balls and put them in the fridge. Then I went to sleep, got up, red my bible, went to the gym, came home, showered, went to the doctor, went to the lab, back to the doctor, over to medical records, back to the lab......well...anyway...I got home at 6 and fried these up for a quick dinner over brown rice noodles. They paired perfectly with my after dinner bowl of mint chip ice cream too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pizza with White Sauce and Roasted Veggies

This was not bad for a pantry meal, quite tasty if I do say so myself....although I don't know if it is really a pantry meal since I keep the yeast and flour in my fridge.....the veggies were in the freezer...and the cream cheese was obviously in the dairy drawer. But "pantry meal" has a much nicer ring to it than "what you make for dinner when you are trying to save money for a big trip to California and all you have left are staples meal"....point proven I think. If you really want to get picky the veggies weren't roasted at all, they were sauteed. The bag said roasted though, and who am I to argue with a bag....there is no reasoning at all with bags you know, they are highly illogical.
The crust was a recipe from King Arthur Flour. I replaced one cup of unbleached flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and I sprinkled the pan with cornmeal because I love the texture of it. Other than that I think I stuck to the recipe pretty well. It came out great.

The veggies came in a bag....from my freezer....I'm not ashamed. I think they paired very nicely with the garlicky white "sauce", really it was more like a spread.

White "sauce"

1 package cream cheese softened
2 onions caramelized with one tsp salt
2 cloves pressed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2tbs (or more) milk
Stir together the cream cheese caramelized onions, garlic, and salt and pepper. Add in milk one tbs at a time until desired consistency. For me it was really more of a spread. It covered half of the pizza this way, leaving the other half free to be cheese pizza in case the kiddos found anything objectionable about a pizza without orange cheese.

I baked the crust until done spread on the white sauce, added the cooked veggies, and served it. The sauce was strong, I really like caramelized onions though so that's OK. The hubster gave it a big two thumbs up as well.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Creamy Cran-apple Fruit Salad

I can't eat a lot of oats anymore....insert super sad face here-----> :(. I miss oatmeal mixed with almond butter and honey on a cold winters morning, the smell of granola baking in the oven, and of course oatmeal cookies. It was a very difficult adjustment at first, oatmeal is a fantastic and filling breakfast, and a great choice if you are watching your sodium.
What you see in the picture is my current breakfast, that I enjoy almost every day. It's simply 2/3 of a cup of plain organic yogurt (you can use French Vanilla if you can't handle the plain yogurt taste), 1 chopped up apple or other organic fruit, 1-2 tablespoons of dried cranberries, a few shakes of cinnamon, and during the spring I add a drizzle of local honey. Mix it all up and eat. It is that simple.
My daughter is insisting I say "Hi" "Hi" from my three year old who has apparently finished her lunch and is wishing that I go play with her.....we are going to do puzzles.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rockin Moroccan Stew....

....saves the day.

I think I have mentioned before the importance of freezing meals. I had a fantastic morning, followed by a not so fantastic mid morning faint/legs giving out thingie and hitting my head (on the driveway? car?). Either way now I'll never be a teen model.....sigh.

So I came in, put my feet up and my wonderful hubster brought me some juice and promised me a dinner out. Well I got to thinking, and I realized not only would I much rather save the money and have a nice meal out when we are on vacation, but also I had some of this in the freezer. It has been so long since I have made it I am not sure of all of the modifications, but I can tell you that I used sun butter in place of the peanut butter, and I most likely doubled the spices. It is one of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes, and that it is an excellent meal on it's own, or served with rice and chapati bread.

What a life saver! Now all I have to do is read a book, get some rest, and heat up dinner whenever the mood strikes me. Jaime Oliver said something on the season finale of "Food Revolution" that stuck with me....not of course enough for me to remember it verbatim (blame it on the head injury). It went something like this "You CAN do it, within the time and in budget".....and it was an ah-ha moment. That is exactly what I want this blog to be about. Just reaching other people and letting them know they can eat healthier, not go bankrupt, and teach their children to do the same. Simply put that's it. I'm not a super Mom by any means. I have days where I am not at my best, and don't have the energy or time to cook. By planning ahead I avoid filling my body with junk and YOU CAN do it too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simple Meals and Chili Ten Ways

I went to the farmers market this weekend and picked up some produce along with a lovely ciabatta bread. I brushed it with a mixture of melted butter, crushed garlic, and cayenne pepper, then sprinkled it with parmesean cheese and toasted it in the toaster oven. So simple, so good. White bread is a sometimes food...... but if I'm going to eat it, it might as well have butter and garlic on it.

I served it up with a spinach salad, topped with strawberries, feta cheese, and a light vinaigrette.

Chili Ten Ways
brought to you by Bubba Mc chompsandcries

Among my finds at the market were bell peppers, and zucchini. Perfect for a vegetarian chili, which turned out to be just the right thing to make this week. You see, my son at his best will eat a wide variety of foods, with his favorites being beans, rice, and yogurt. At his worst however he narrows down the foods he will eat into two groups, chili.........and things he will tolerate if mixed with chili. And this week he has been sick, and teething. So in my effort to get him to eat a variety of foods I have come up with ten ways to serve chili. This will work well if you also have a toddler who refuses to eat anything but chili....or possibly also if you just have a bunch of leftover chili, which is the more likely scenario out of the two. You can serve chili....

1.) Topped with cheese, sour cream, avocado, and crushed tortilla chips.

2.) On a baked potato.

3.) Over nachos.

4.) As enchilada filling.

5.) In redneck casserole. That's chili in a casserole dish topped with tots, baked, and then sprinkled with cheese.

6.) Mixed in with spaghetti sauce.

7.) Mixed in with mac and cheese.

8.) Over rice.

9.) As the filling for a shepherds pie sort of dish. Chili, topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

10.) On a grilled cheese sandwich.

There you have it, not gourmet, not revolutionary, and most of these recipes involve potatoes.....I just noticed that. However, I never said I was a chef. Just a mom out to prove that you can eat well on a budget.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Chapati Pizza

This chapati was topped with an Indian inspired sauce, cheddar cheese, and sprinkled with chili powder. Grilled, or pan seared tofu would make an excellent topping in place of the cheese for a dairy free (vegan) version of this dish or even in addition to the cheese for an extra bit of protein.

I used the recipe I always use for chapati but found that I needed much more olive oil than last time.....perhaps because I had to keep interrupting my kneading to wipe, hold, or feed a child. The sauce came together quite well, despite the fact that I needed to improvise a bit with my ingredients and their amounts.

The sauce

5 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
dash or two of cayenne (if you like spice)
1 can of tomato sauce 15oz
olive oil to coat the pan

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and spices, stirring to keep the garlic from browning. Cook for two minutes, until the spices become fragrant, stirring as needed. Add the tomato sauce and stir. Cook for five minutes more, stirring occasionally. At this point the sauce should be bubbly, and the spices should have had a chance to work their way around the sauce. Taste and add salt as desired.

Top the chapati with a few spoonfuls of sauce, some cheese (or tofu) and a generous sprinkling of chili powder. Heat in the toaster oven until cheese bubbles, or you just can't wait any longer. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vegetarian Loco Moco

Loco Moco is a Hawaiian dish that usually consists of rice, a hamburger patty, gravy, and it is topped with a fried egg. I made this version with brown rice, my vegetarian breakfast patties, and vegetarian substitution for the egg....but it still tasted really good.

Creamy Vegetarian gravy

3tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
liquid smoke to taste

Melt the butter over medium low heat, and whisk in the flour and seasonings. Cook for about two minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste, then dump in the milk all at once while whisking. Cook until thick and bubbly (not boiling), whisking occasionally. Add more salt and liquid smoke to taste.

Onion gravy variation
This is the gravy I made last night. It has...hmmm...well lets just say "a texture" to it. :) Didn't bother me one bit (mostly because I love the taste of onions), but if you are a texture person and don't like the idea of lumps in your gravy, then this is not the recipe for you. I just caramelized some onions and blended them in my food processor with the milk. I reduced the butter, and flour to 2 tbs each, because the onion acts as a thickener. And I left out the garlic salt. Other than that the process to make it is the same.

Vegetarian Breakfast Patty (soy free)

I don't know how I feel about these. The hubster loved them, but to me the texture was off, and I think I will use more brown rice next time to get that chewy, hearty texture one expects from a breakfast patty.

What you need
1 onion
1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 cup brown rice
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp sage divided
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt divided
1 cup breadcrumbs
olive oil for frying

Dice the onion and saute with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sage until golden brown. Add half of this mixture, along with the clove of garlic, black pepper, cream cheese, garlic salt, chickpeas, and 1/4 tsp sage to your food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a bowl and stir in the brown rice, bread crumbs, the rest of the onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape this mixture into a log and refrigerate. Slice and pan fry when ready to eat.

This made a decent post workout snack, but there is room for improvement. I will let you know how it turns out in dinner. I'm making vegetarian Loco Moco.
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