Monday, June 25, 2012

Cumin Lentil Barley Stew

I love lentils and barley, but had never before put them together.  They made a delicious combination in this hearty soup.  The leftovers tasted even better the second day (with a little broth thrown in before reheating).  

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup barley, rinsed and picked over
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, celery and salt and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and coriander and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in tomatoes, stock, lentils and barley. Bring just to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils and barley are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in spinach and heat through.
Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Banana Split Bites

These were a fun, yummy treat to share with our church home group.   The gingersnaps and I had a fun time making them, with plenty of snacking involved in the process!  I made the "bites" too big, which meant you either had to eat them in two bites (messy) or had to awkwardly shove the whole thing in your mouth (potentially embarrassing).  So my advice is to make sure and keep them bite-size.  Then just eat a whole bunch!

2 medium bananas, peeled and cut into 10 pieces each
3-4 strawberries, cut in half and sliced to make 20 pieces
6 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil (I didn't use this, but I bet it would be delicious)
2 Tbsp shredded coconut (I chopped mine to make it even more fine)
2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Place 20 mini cupcake liners on a small baking sheet. Slice bananas and place 1 piece into each. Do the same for the strawberries.
In a small pot on the stovetop or in a microwave, melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low. Remove from heat and stir well to melt the remaining chunks.
Make a workstation with the bites, melted chocolate, coconut, walnuts, and optional nut butter. Spoon on 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto a bite and gently spread out. Drizzle on nut butter (optional). Quickly sprinkle with coconut and walnuts. Repeat for the remaining 19 bites.
Freeze for a minimum of 15 minutes. If they are in the freezer for a long time and freeze solid, let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes to soften up a bit. I put mine in a Tupperware container for storage.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Veggie and Feta Pasta Salad

Here's another great pasta salad that we were satisfied with for dinner.  I made a few changes to the original.

1 pound mixed tri-color pasta
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets

1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
6 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta and drain. Cook the veggies in a heavy frying pan with a little olive oil over medium heat until crisp-tender - 5-7 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta and olives.
Crumble the feta cheese into the pasta. Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together and toss with the pasta.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Asian Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Mayonnaise

These burgers had great flavor!  We followed the suggestion to only use the sriracha mayonnaise as a topping and were satisfied.

Makes 4 burgers
For burgers:
1 pound ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used one shake so it wouldn't be too spicy for the kiddos)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil

hamburger buns
For Sriracha Mayonnaise:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce 
Make the burgers. Combine ground turkey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, garlic cayenne pepper, bread crumbs and a generous grind of black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand. Form into 4 -6 patties. Heat a grilling pan over a medium-high flame (you can use a large skillet, but grilling pan is preferred—you can also grill the burgers). Brush the grilling pan lightly with canola oil and toast the cut side of the buns in batches; set aside.
Brush the pan more generously with oil and cook the burgers until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Use a quick read thermometer to make sure the burgers reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Meanwhile, make the Sriracha mayonnaise. Crazy easy. Put the mayonnaise and the Sriracha Hot Sauce in a small bowl and mix with a spoon. Done.
Assemble the burgers. Also easy. Bun, burger and a smear of Sriracha mayonnaise. You can add some lettuce or tomato slices, but I would discourage it. These are quite tasty on their own.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mediterranean Couscous and Chicken Wraps

Tricia passed on this recipe to me and I've already made it twice!  It was a hit with the whole family and super easy to pull together.  I made the couscous mixture ahead of time, so I put the chicken on the pan to cook literally as my husband walked in the door, held the baby in my other arm, and we were eating 15 minutes later.  The flavors are subtle, but enough to not be boring.  This will be a regular on our summer menu.

1/3 cup couscous (I just used a box and cooked according to directions)
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper

1 lb. chicken tenders 
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
10-inch spinach or sun dried tomato wraps

Cook couscous according to package.

Combine parsley, lemon juice, oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl.
Toss chicken w/ 2-3 Tablespoons of parsley mixture and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then cook in skillet until chicken is done, about 5 minutes per side.

Stir remaining parsley mixture into couscous.  Add tomato and cucumber. (Both times I forgot to add the tomato and cucumber, so I just sliced them and served them on the side)

Assemble wraps, putting approximately 3/4 cup couscous mixture on wrap with chicken.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shrimp and Couscous Paella

I'm all about simple and quick these days.  This definitely fit the bill.  We all liked it.

1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (2-14.5 oz cans)
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used just a dash so it wouldn't be too spicy for the kids, but would have preferred more for my own taste)
1 pound large shrimp, uncooked
2 cups couscous
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
sliced almonds, to garnish
fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)

In a large nonstick skillet saute red pepper in a small amount of oil until softened. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, just until shrimp turn pink.

Making sure broth is at a simmer, stir in couscous, peas and butter. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with almonds and parsley to serve.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad

This was a great twist on normal pasta salad.  The mediterranean flare was delicious.  We had it for dinner this week (by itself) and everyone was satisfied.  The recipe makes a lot of yogurt sauce and I ended up only using about two-thirds because I thought the flavor would over-power the other ingredients.

1 16oz. container low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill  (I used 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • garlic cloves
  • (16-oz.) package penne pasta
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • (9.9-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Process first 7 ingredients in a food processor (or Vitamix!) for 30 seconds or until thoroughly blended. Transfer to a bowl, and cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Place cooled pasta in a large bowl. Stir in olives and next 3 ingredients until well blended. Add yogurt mixture, and stir just until well coated. Gently stir in feta cheese. Cover and chill 1 hour.
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