Friday, March 30, 2012

Refrigerator Dump Something

Tonight was "Refrigerator Dump Something," aka "I have stuff going bad in my refrigerator and need to use it up."

Since it was a Friday during Lent, this dish was meatless.

I chopped garlic, celery, tomatoes, onion and green bell pepper and sauteed in butter in a large skillet until they were caramelized and soft. I seasoned with salt and pepper, parsley and thyme. I then combined 2 cups of cooked lentils, 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1 cup cooked brown rice in the skillet and seasoned with curry. 

I have to say this turned out better than expected. It was very filling and used everything I needed to use in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Red Potatoes with Garlic and Kale, Orange Sesame Tofu over Brown Rice

Tonight was another meatless dish experiment. I experimented myself with the red potatoes.

6-10 red potatoes, cubed and boiled
minced garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 stick of butter
cooked quinoa

Finely chop and wilt the kale in a covered skillet with a small amount of water on the bottom. Season potatoes to taste and melt in the butter. Mix in the wilted kale and cooked quinoa. So good, it could be a dish unto itself.

The orange sesame tofu was another story...

Original Recipe

2 tsp arrowroot powder
1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice (zest orange first, see below)
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp tamari/Bragg’s Amino Acids
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 lb extra-firm tofu, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch (5-10 mm.) thick squares, and patted to remove excess 1/4 cup green spring onions, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1-2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (for garnish)
1 bunch of swiss chard, cleaned & chopped roughly (stems included)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
1 cup brown rice, cooked
Preheat oven to 400˚F (205˚C). In an 8×12 inch (20×30 cm) baking dish, combine arrowroot with 2 Tbsp. orange juice and stir until fully dissolved. Add remaining juice and ingredients, except tofu, green onions and sesame seeds, and stir to combine. Add tofu and turn to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 1 hour or more, or bake it immediately.
To bake, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Turn over tofu, gently stir to cover tofu with sauce, and bake again, uncovered, for another 6-9 minutes, or until sauce thickens and is bubbling at edges (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
Replaced the arrowroot with ginger powder. Skipped the tamari (did not have it available). 

I followed the recipe exactly (minus the alterations), but the tofu didn't "crisp" up in the oven like I wanted. Despite having pressed out the water before marinating, it remained soggy. It was not a good texture to eat. I have had better success with frying tofu than baking it, but I will continue to try various ways to eat tofu!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Baked Cheese Crackers

These cheese crackers make for an excellent toddler snack...although Mom was enjoying them just as much as the kids!

Original Recipe

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 oz (1 cup) cheddar cheese 
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t fresh-ground pepper
  1. Pulse the flour, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper together using a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.
  3. Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. (If you roll it thicker, it will still work, but the crackers won't be quite as crunchy. This dough rolled out so easily; you'll wish that you always worked with cheddar!)
  6. Cut out as many crackers as possible with a knife.
  7. Place them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pans.
  8. Bake at 350 F until golden and crisp - 15 to 20 minutes.

I used 4oz of cheddar and 4oz parmesan/romano. I rolled the dough thicker for softer crackers.

Verdict: Well, I need to make more because they were devoured by my toddler (and myself) in one hour! They are very buttery. A dash of garlic salt would be a tasty addition.

Dahl With Poached Eggs, Cilantro and Yogurt

Tonight's meal is a meatless Indian dish.

Original Recipe

Dahl With Eggs and Yogurt
Total Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4


4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped fine

1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin

1 small hot, fresh chili, washed and chopped fine

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed

10-12 curry leaves

1 cup Indian red lentils


8 eggs

½ cup plain, whole-fat yogurt

Cilantro, for garnish

Lime wedges
What To Do

1. Set a medium pot with ghee over medium heat. Once melted, add ginger, onion, chili and coriander seeds. Once onion softens, about 2 minutes, add curry leaves. Sauté until leaves are a bit crispy, about 4 minutes.

2. Pour lentils and 3 cups water into pot. Season with a pinch of salt. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir dal occasionally to avoid sticking. Cook until lentils are soft, 15-20 minutes, and dal has risotto-like consistency.

3. Meanwhile, prepare poached eggs. Bring a small pot with 2 inches of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low. When water is almost still, crack 2 eggs into two ramekins and gently slide each into the hot water. Let eggs sit, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and pat dry. Bring water back up to a boil and repeat with remaining eggs.

4. Spoon dal into four shallow bowls. Top each serving with 2 poached eggs, a dollop of yogurt and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Alterations: I used regular butter (unsalted), ginger powder, curry powder, and chili powder, green lentils and Greek yogurt. I added bulgur boiled in vegetable broth for extra heartiness. I found it needed a bit more curry and salt to bring out the flavors.
Verdict: YES. And YES again. My son and my husband loved it. It was an interesting combination of flavors and an excellent meatless dish option. 

My 2 year old ate it!

Chicken with Bulgur and Spinach Pilaf

This was last night's dinner. A very simple 30 minute one-skillet meal.

Original Recipe



  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cook the chicken until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the broth, bulgur, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the skillet and bring to a boil.
  4. Nestle the chicken in the bulgur, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until bulgur is tender and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 17 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to individual plates. Add the spinach and basil to the bulgur in the skillet, stir until slightly wilted, and serve.

Alterations: I used chicken thigh meat instead of chicken breasts and added more garlic for flavor. I found 2 cloves to be too little for flavoring. I also used a beef instead of chicken broth, which added a heartiness to the meal. Finally, I used a box of frozen spinach and let it defrost/cook in the skillet as the chicken simmered.

Verdict: YES, definitely will use this again for a dinner. My husband loved it.