I did it! I cooked! I cooked like I used to cook – dreamed up a dish and set about throwing it together in the kitchen. It’s been awhile. I’ve been relying a lot (too much, maybe) on old staples like pasta with beans and goat cheese, Field Roast sausages, veggie-and-hummus snack plates, or big salads for dinner – all stuff that gets the job done, but dullsville and not really blogable. It’s just been a challenge to get into the kitchen lately. I’m completely wiped out when I get home from work, and all I want to do is lay on the couch with a book and shout out a running commentary on baby kicks.
But I was sick of relying on the easy staples and – although he’s far too nice to say so – I suspect hubby was too. So last night I resolved to get my butt into the kitchen and create something new, something we could really enjoy. This meal did the trick. It was easy, packed with protein from the edamame and with nutrients from the carrots and cabbage, and with the wonderful rich flavor of tamari, which I just love. I felt good eating it, and good after I finished, and I enjoyed every bite. It turns out this meal isn’t just a flash in the pan (pun intended); I’m already planning out when I can have it again. It’s going into my regular rotation… and maybe it will even inspire me to get back in the kitchen and whip up some new dishes on a more frequent basis.
Asian Noodles with Cabbage
Handful of udon noodles (or sub soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti)
5 carrots, peeled and grated
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coleslaw mix (or sub finely shredded cabbage)
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1 teaspoon Seaweed Gomasio (or sub white sesame seeds)
Salt and pepper
Several dashes tamari (or sub soy sauce)
- Heat a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt generously and add udon noodles. Cook according to package directions (mine called for 8-10 minutes at a low boil).
- While udon noodles are cooking, heat a few dashes of olive oil in a separate nonstick pan until shimmering. Add carrots, coleslaw mix, and edamame. Season lightly with a sprinkle of salt (go easy on the salt though) and pepper, and saute until wilted down and until the edamame are warmed through.
- Add Seaweed Gomasio and a few dashes of tamari to taste. Continue cooking veggies over medium heat until the udon noodles are done.
- Drain the udon noodles, then add to the pan with the vegetables. Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning. Add more tamari if necessary. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a chilled Asian pasta salad.
Source: Covered In Flour
Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a side.
All right, all right, I know I’m about a week and a half late with this one. You’re all shaking your heads – yes, you, I see you – saying “Where was this recipe for Superbowl Sunday?” Yeah, sorry about that. I was behind with recipes. But the good news is twofold: (1) it’s still cold out, so you have plenty of opportunities to eat chili before spring sets in; and (2) this is a really good way to use up extra quinoa. Because I know you always have extra quinoa lying around! (No? Just me?) Actually, this is a great pantry dinner for those meals you have to put together when it’s been awhile since you made it to the grocery store and you’re looking for something healthy. You could easily do canned beans with this, or you could use some Slow Cooker Beans for extra deliciousness. Either way, this protein-packed entree is definitely going to be one of my staples from now until spring. Enjoy!
Bean Chili with Quinoa
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 batch Slow Cooker Beans (or sub two cans of black beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, grated cheddar and/or plain Greek yogurt for optional garnish
- In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering. Add onion and saute until golden.
- Add beans, quinoa, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Add spices, salt and pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, then serve with “fixins.”
Source: Covered In Flour
A few years ago, I got a slow cooker for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I was extremely excited about this gift. I had big plans for tossing ingredients in while I had breakfast and coming home to find a wonderful finished meal just waiting for me. Then I discovered that hubby views the slow cooker as a fire hazard and will only allow us to use it when we’re home to babysit it all day. I try to explain that this defeats the purpose of the slow cooker, but my protests have fallen on deaf ears so far. And that, friends, is why you have never seen a slow cooker recipe on here!
Until today. I have been meaning to learn how to use the slow cooker to make beans. Yes, I know they’re better when they simmer on the stovetop all day, but I’m not picky about beans that I’m going to turn into chili or soup or other dishes. (If they’re destined to be eaten on their own, now, that’s another story.) Although it would still be more convenient to set the beans to cook while I’m at work, until hubby is convinced that the house won’t burn down if we leave the slow cooker on all day, my bean-cooking is a Saturday enterprise. But it does help to be able to make a large batch of beans to use in different dishes all week… even if I have to be home and staring at the darn slow cooker the entire time.
Slow Cooker Beans
1 pound dried beans of your choice (I used Rancho Gordo)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
- Combine beans and herbs in slow cooker and cover with approximately 1 inch of water.
- Set slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Walk away.
- Come back 8 hours later. Done!
Source: Covered In Flour (use your own slow cooker’s instruction manual to verify cooking temps and times)
Well, it’s December. Month of card-writing, gift-wrapping, cookie-baking and party-attending. Not to mention all those loose ends you’re probably trying to tie up at work before the end of the year. Are you completely overwhelmed yet? Ready to throw in the towel? Or still trucking along with some holiday spirit?
If you’re feeling a little bit under the gun, you’re not alone. I know the feeling. I know it well. I’ve had some dark moments where I’m pretty sure that my to-do list is longer than my driveway. And I’ve learned from experience – there’s only one way to get through the month with sanity intact, and that’s to make a priority of taking care of myself. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I stop mattering. I still deserve yummy, healthy, nutrient-rich meals and time to exercise. I still deserve to practice basic self-care, and dangit, I WILL practice basic self-care. The cards will get written, the gifts bought, and the house cleaned and decorated. But at the end of the month, I’ll still be smiling. Because that’s what I deserve. And so do you!
Here’s a good place to start: a light and delicious soup packed full of nutritious fresh vegetables. You can follow my recipe or adapt it to whatever happens to be knocking around your crisper drawer. The more veg, the merrier! So go to town on those beans and veggies… and I promise you’ll feel nourished, loved, and ready to take on those holiday-shopper crowds. Veggie power!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, washed and diced
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 cup diced haricots verts
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- Heat olive oil until shimmering in a large saucepan or stock pot. Add onions and salt, and saute until translucent.
- Add carrots and celery and saute with onions until slightly softened.
- Add remaining vegetables, chickpeas and dried thyme, and saute until thyme is fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine (and deglaze pot, if necessary). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 25-30 minutes until flavors are melded. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Source: Covered In Flour
Rice and beans is one of the most versatile dinners in a vegetarian’s repetoire. Together they make a complete protein, they fill you up without tons of extra empty calories, and there are infinite varieties. I often do a Mexican version, but recently I decided to try making rice and beans that tasted pizza-esque. This dinner isn’t like eating a gooey, chewy pizza (there’s no cheese and no crust), but it has similar flavors and it’s fun. Who can argue with fun?
Pizza Rice and Beans
1 cup dry long-grain brown rice
3 cups baby kale (I used Olivia’s Organics Cooking Greens)*
1/2 jar tomato sauce of your choice (I used 365 Organic tomato basil)
1 jar cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- Cook brown rice according to directions on package – generally it requires 2 1/4 cups liquid per cup of rice; bring rice to a boil then reduce to simmer and leave covered for 45 minutes. When rice is cooked, fluff with a fork before stirring in remainer of ingredients.
- When rice is nearly done cooking, steam kale in microwave with a little water, then drain. (Alternatively, wilt kale with a little oil, water or broth in saute pan).
- Stir wilted kale and all remaining of ingredients into cooked rice and allow to warm together over low heat for 5 minutes before serving.
*If you can’t find baby kale, you can use regular kale and just chop it roughly, or you can substitute baby spinach. Both are readily available in most supermarkets.
Source: Covered In Flour
Chickpeas are one of my favorite vegetarian power foods. They are loaded with protein and fiber and they soak up whatever flavorings you cook them in. Versatile, delicious, and healthy – who could ask for more? This dish combines two of my favorite things – tamari and chickpeas. Holy Yum. I love to bake it up and serve it as a finger food for little parties, but it would also be great over salads or stews, or even mashed roughly and spread on crostini. Hmmmm… I think I know what I’ll be doing with the leftovers…
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup tamari
pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small casserole dish, mix together all ingredients except thyme, until well combined.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool slightly. Mix in dried thyme. Serve as a snack bite or sprinkle over salads, soups or stews.
Source: Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton
- Drain off remaining liquid
New Year, new salad. I welcomed 2011 with a tasty meal-sized salad for dinner – one of my favorite things to eat! In a nod to the incoming year, I decided to use black-eyed peas for the protein component of my salad. Who else follows the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s? I don’t know where it comes from; all I know is that we always had them at my grandma’s house on New Year’s Day. And I’ll tell you what – eating a fresh spinach salad with avocado, crunchy peppers, and black-eyed peas makes me feel lucky indeed. But don’t feel like you need to save this salad for New Year’s Day. I’ll be eating it all year to keep that New Year’s luck going!
New Year’s Salad
4 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 avocado, diced
2 bell peppers, cored and diced
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
dressing of your choice (I used Annie’s Organic Goddess, but you can use whatever you like or make your own)
- Create a bed of spinach by dividing leaves into two bowls.
- Top spinach with peppers, then avocado, then pile black-eyed peas on top.
- Dress and serve – that’s it! Simple for 2011! Serves 2.
Source: Covered In Flour
Ohhhhh, yes please. This is one of those dishes that you can make all year round, but it’s particularly satisfying in fall. The creamy white bean and the caramelized onions and savory mushrooms come together to create an earthy, heavenly, mish-mosh of flavors and textures. Paired with some whole-grain bread (or Ezekiel English muffins, as I did here ’cause I’m lazy), it’s a perfect dish to throw together and make you feel like life is worth living even on a rainy Monday. I promise. And you know I don’t make promises I can’t keep.
Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, sliced thin
1 package gourmet mix mushrooms (or shiitakes)
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and saute gently until soft. Remove from pan and reserve.
- In the same pan, saute the mushrooms until they are golden and caramelized, 10-12 minutes. Keep them moving and add more olive oil if necessary (but only if necessary).
- When the mushrooms are caramelized, add the leeks back and pour in the beans. Mix well, season with the salt, pepper, and dried herbs, and warm the beans through. Serve over whole grain bread or pasta.
Source: Adapted from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
I made this dip on my last week in my condo, as a way to clean out my pantry a little bit (so I’d have fewer cans and jars to move, which is key) and also to have something to contribute at my last condo social event. This white bean dip, flavored with bright lemon, sun-dried tomatoes and chives, is certainly delicious. But I know better than to call it hummus. After meeting Katie, I now understand that hummus is just that, hummus, and anything else is… well… something else. It’s like Champagne, a little bit. One of my pet peeves is when people refer to sparkling wine as “Champagne” when it’s not. Hello, Champagne is from the Champagne region of France. Anything else is sparkling wine. And there’s nothing wrong with sparkling wine, as long as you don’t try to pretend it’s Champagne. This is kind of like that. This dip is not hummus. So I’m going to be respectful and not try to pretend that it’s some kind of “White Bean Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomato and Chives.” I’m going to call this what it is – a delicious, creamy, flavorful dip made with cannellini beans and sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. It calls to mind various Mediterranean flavors – the white beans and sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil suggesting Italy, with a little whiff of Greece from the tahini (I use a Greek brand). Yum. Not hummus… but delish.
Mediterranean Bean Dip
1 can white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed, liquor reserved
1/4 cup (approx.) extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
salt and pepper
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rough chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh (or freeze-dried) chives, plus more for garnish
- Place beans, oil, lemon juice and tahini in the bowl of a blender and pulse to combine. Add reserved bean liquor, a tablespoon at a time, until the dip reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. (This is something you have to judge for yourself; I can’t tell you how much bean liquor it will take. It totally depends on your blender and your beans.)
- Take a quick taste and decide if the dip needs any more lemon or tahini for flavoring. If so, add the ingredient a little at a time, tasting as you go along, to achieve the right flavor. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then blend.
- Blend in roughly chopped pieces of sun-dried tomato – but don’t over-blend! You want the tomato to be evenly dispersed throughout the dip, with flecks of red visible and the rest of the dip a creamy, pale pink color.
- Remove dip to a bowl and stir in chives. Scoop into serving bowl and top with additional chives, if desired.
Source: Covered In Flour, method from Good Things Catered
I love January. Does that make me weird? I also love Mondays, for the same reason – because I love a fresh start. I’m that annoyingly perky girl at the office on Mondays – the one who says things like “Big day! Lots to do!” and drives everyone crazy with her enthusiastic list-making. I just love that feeling of being revved up, motivated and ready to go. And in January, I take it to extremes. I’m all about the healthy eating and I’m the most over-zealous gym rat you’ll find. I make the same resolutions that everyone else makes. I always go into January with plans to: (1) get more organized; (2) run a half marathon; and (3) be all zen and peaceful and stuff. I always have high hopes for the year ahead, and even if I miss the mark on some of my resolutions, I never stop believing that I can make positive changes. And at the end of the year, even if I’ve fallen short in some areas, I’m usually so happy with the way things are going in my life that I really have no complaints. I’m annoying that way too.
So for all of my brothers and sisters on the January motivation bandwagon, I have a belated holiday gift for you: warm bean and edamame salad with feta. If you want to eat healthy, here’s a great place to start. This salad is pure protein – creamy navy beans, crunchy edamame, and tangy feta cheese wrapped in a silky squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper. It’s filling, satisfying, packed with good stuff like vitamins and minerals – and it’s vegetarian too! The recipe makes so much that you’ll be guaranteed bonus leftovers for your lunches… unless you invite your whole Pilates class home with you.
Warm Bean and Edamame Salad with Feta
1 package frozen edamame beans, pre-shelled, thawed
1 can navy beans*, drained and rinsed
1/2 block Greek-style Feta in brine, cubed
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm a drizzle of olive oil – just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, no more. Add the edamame and navy beans and heat until warmed through. Remove from heat.
- Add juice of one lemon, Feta cubes, pinch of salt and pepper (not much salt, because the Feta is salty), and an additional drizzle of olive oil, then toss all together.
Source: Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis