Portabellos in Paradise

Summer is a great time for eating lighter and having some meatless nights.  Tonight we had grilled portabello mushroom burgers.  I realized that I hadn’t really thought of a side so threw together an orzo salad.  All was good and healthy.  Check out the picture!

Here is the recipe:

Grilled Portabello burgers 

  • 1 portabello mushroom per person
  • 1 whole wheat roll per person
  • 1 TB mayo mixed with 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar per person
  • sliced red onion
  • lettuce
  • fresh basil leaves
  • Pam cooking spray

Clean mushrooms and spray with Pam.  Grill until done about 2 minutes per side.  Top rolls with mayo mixture, grilled mushrooms, red onion and lettuce.  Serve.

Orzo salad

  • 1 cup orzo, cooked to package directions
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 TB finely chopped parsley
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Toss cooked orzo with remaining ingredients and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with mushroom sauce

This is a good weeknight dinner that doesn’t take too long to make.  The mix of dried and fresh mushrooms gives it great flavor.   Here is the recipe:

Pasta with Mushrooms

  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 12 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 TB butter
  • pasta of your choice (we used fettucini)
  • grated Parmesan cheese
Combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.  Add dried porcini mushrooms and cook for 4 -5 minutes.  Pour through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove grit, reserving liquid.  Rinse porcini mushrooms and chop.
Clean mushrooms and chop.  Melt 1 TB butter over medium heat and add shallots.  Cook stirring 3 – 4  minutes until soft.  Add plain mushrooms.  Saute about 5 minutes.  Add chopped porcini mushrooms and saute about 3 minutes.  Add reserved cooking liquid and heat about 3 minutes.  Turn off heat and add remaining TB butter.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain in colander.  Portion pasta into bowls and top with mushroom sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve.

Pasta with sauce

I had to work late tonight so I wanted something easy.  Fortunately, last summer when tomatoes were delicious, I made some roasted tomato pasta sauce.  I took it out this morning and we had it over pasta with a few pieces of fresh mozzarella and some grated Parmesan cheese.  Here is the recipe – file it away for summertime.  It will be here before you know it!

Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 7 – 8 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TB capers
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
in a glass baking dish toss tomatoes with olive oil garlic and red pepper.  Roast at 375 for about 45 minutes.  Stir in basil and salt and roast for another 15 minutes.  Stir in capers and anchovy paste and roast for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Freeze until ready to use.

Pasta with asparagus

There are some foods that I really associate with a season and asparagus is one of them – it makes me feel like spring is coming.  This quick and easy pasta is the perfect way to greet spring.  The goat cheese makes the sauce rich and creamy and the asparagus has a great crunch.  This is for 2 servings:

Pasta with asparagus and goat cheese

  • pasta of your choice (I used small shells)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb asparagus (tough ends broken off and chopped into 1 inch lengths)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to cooking directions.  Drain (reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.)

While pasta cooks saute shallots in olive oil until soft (about 2 – 3 minutes).  Add asparagus and cook, stirring until crisp and tender (about 7 – 8 minutes).

Add pasta and cooking water to pan with shallots and asparagus.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and goat cheese to combine.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.  Here it is in the pan:

 

Vegetarian meal

We had this pasta a few weeks ago and it was so good that it had to get back on the menu plan soon.  It is healthy and quick to fix.  A friend told me that she had made it from the blog and really liked it – we agree that the only problem is it isn’t the prettiest color.  I’ll take delicious over pretty every time!

Pasta with Eggplant Sauce

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (I removed half of the peel)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I found heirloom cherry tomatoes that were a mix of colors – yellow, red and purple)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 TB pine nuts
  • 2 servings pasta
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, 3 TB olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and toss together in a bowl.  Spread vegetables out on the parchment and roast 35 – 40 minutes.  Place pine nuts on a small baking tray and roast in same oven for 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

When vegetables are cooked, puree in a blender or food processor.  Don’t over process, you want your sauce a little bit chunky.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.  Toss pasta with vegetables and stir in cooking liquid in 3 batches.  Sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Salad concoctions

Last night I wanted to make a salad to go with our roasted chicken.  I wanted something a little bit different.  As I walked around the grocery store, I was looking for interesting things to add.  This is what I made but be creative and vary the ingredients based on your tastes.  (Everyone loved it).  Try to get a combination of flavors and textures.

Sunday night Salad

  • 1 TB sherry vinegar (or balsamic, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, etc – something acidic)
  • 3 – 4 TB good olive oil (or walnut oil, sesame oil, hazelnut oil, etc.)
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • greens (I used a spring mix)
  • grilled marinated artichoke hearts from a jar (I used about 2)
  • roasted tomatoes (I got these from the olive bar at our grocery store)
  • candied walnuts (or any nuts)
  • hard goat cheese, about 1 oz. cubed (or any hard cheese that you like)
  • sliced mushrooms
  • croutons (I found some rosemary croutons)

Toss dressing ingredients (vinegar, oil, shallot and mustard) in a small jar.  Wash greens and dry thoroughly.  Top with other ingredients and then pour dressing over top.  Chop well to mix – I use two sharp knives together and cut back and forth so ingredients are well mixed and cut into small pieces.  Enjoy.

Chili

This is a reprint of a previous posting but it is appropriate as so many people like chili for the Super Bowl.  It is good for a big group and if like us, you are having a small group, it’s a great way to fill your freezer.  We are having the beef and sausage tonight but the others listed here are also delicious.  Pick your favorite.  We are having a salad on the side and we’ll try to keep our portions small.

Beef and Sausage Chili (courtesy of Keith – adapted from The Silver Palate)

This is the chili that converted me (I was not a fan of chili prior to tasting this one.)  It makes enough to serve 15 – 20 people so you’ll need a good sized stockpot (we use a 12 qt pot).

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz cumin
  • 2 oz chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 TB dried basil
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 3 lbs canned  plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 TB lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz) of pitted black olives, drained

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and cook over low heat, until tender (about 10 minutes).

Add sausage meet, ground beef and sirloin cubes and cook over medium high heat until meat is well browned.  Drain as much fat as possible.

Reduce heat to low and add all ingredients except olives.  Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add olives and heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions and jalapeno peppers (for those who like it spicy) and cornbread.

Turkey Chili (courtesy of Gill)

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • chili seasoning to taste

Brown onions and garlic in oil.  Add turkey and cook (do not drain).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

White Chicken Chili  (courtesy of Julie)

  • 2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 -2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 oz can chopped green chili
  • 1 poblano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 4 cups poached boneless, skinless chicken, cubed

In a large pan combine  the beans with the chicken broth.  In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent.  Add chilis and seasonings and mix thoroughly.  Add onion-chili mixture to the beans.  Add the chicken cubes and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through.  Add more chicken broth if needed.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions or salsa.

Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup small red beans
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large can of plum tomatoes (including juice)
  • 2 – 3 cups of water

Pour all ingredients into a pot and simmer over low heat for several hours.  Serve.

Versatile vegetables!

We’re having an eggplant intensive week.  Last night we ate the vegetable torte with leftover tenderloin from our dinner party.  The vegetable torte was very good and very pretty.  It would be good for a buffet dinner party.  We let it sit out a little so it wasn’t cold but it didn’t need to be heated.  The combination of vegetables was excellent and it was easier to cut and serve than I thought.  Here is a picture:

Tonight I made pasta with an eggplant sauce adapted from a recipe in one of Giada’s books.  She uses penne pasta and I used bows.  I also increased the garlic and decreased the olive oil.  My husband loved it – he could not believe it was eggplant and thought it would be good for a dinner party.  A great option if you are entertaining vegetarians.  I’m thinking this might be another good thing to take on our ski trip.  Here is what I did:

Pasta with Eggplant Sauce

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (I removed half of the peel)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I found heirloom cherry tomatoes that were a mix of colors – yellow, red and purple)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 TB pine nuts
  • 2 servings pasta
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, 3 TB olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and toss together in a bowl.  Spread vegetables out on the parchment and roast 35 – 40 minutes.  Place pine nuts on a small baking tray and roast in same oven for 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

When vegetables are cooked, puree in a blender or food processor.  Don’t over process, you want your sauce a little bit chunky.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.  Toss pasta with vegetables and stir in cooking liquid in 3 batches.  Sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.  Here is a picture:

All the vegetables are helping.  We did our end of month weigh in and in the month of January, I lost 5 pounds and my husband lost 7.  If you follow blog, you know that we have not been starving.  🙂  We’re really trying to eat healthier and throwing in some delicious vegetarian meals doesn’t hurt.  On to February!

Roasted vegetable torte

I found a recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for a roasted vegetable torte.  You layer cooked vegetables in a cakepan, let it chill and then slice and eat.  This looked like a great way to get in more vegetables without a lot of fat.  Tomorrow night we’re having leftover tenderloin so I made the vegetable torte this afternoon.  It will be a great side.  I added some extra seasonings and reduced the amount of Parmesan cheese to keep the calories down a bit.

Roasted vegetable torte

  • 2 zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 red peppers, halved, cored and seeded
  • 2 yellow peppers, halved, cored and seeded
  • 1 eggplant, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (you can leave skin on)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 TB of olive oil in a heavy saute pan over medium heat.  Cook zucchini, onions, garlic and herbs about 10 – 15 minutes or until zucchini is soft.  Toss the peppers and eggplant with the remaining olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Layer the cooked vegetables in a cake pan, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, zucchini and topping with eggplant – sprinkling Parmesan cheese between layers.  Top with wax paper and a weighted plate.  Put on a pie plate or baking sheet to catch liquids and refrigerate.  Serve in wedges.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

This is a delicious vegetarian dinner.  We ate the “burgers” with the last of the gazpacho.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers (per burger)

  • 1 TB Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Basil
  • 1 Portobello Mushroom cap
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1 Whole Wheat hamburger bun
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper (jarred)
  • 1 slice Red Onion
  • 1 slice Lettuce

Mix together mayonnaise, white wine vinegar and basil.  Spray mushroom caps with Pam and grill (about 4 minutes on top and 3 minutes on bottom).  Spread mayonnaise mix on hamburger buns and top with grilled mushroom, red pepper, onion and lettuce.  Serve.  A quick and nutricious dinner.