Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mediterranean Veggie Wraps

We've been having dinner with our neighbors at least once a week, and I decided that since Scott usually cooks when they come here, Saturday evening was my turn.

Coming back from New York on Friday I had a grilled vegetable sandwich from a vendor in the LaGuardia airport that was delicious, and gave me grilled vegetable cravings for the next 24 hours.

We had some tomato-basil tortilla wraps already, so I bought a bunch of veggies and we fired up the grill.

I made a fresh pesto from the basil plants in the backyard, steamed some asparagus, and grilled the rest of the veggies.

We put together the wraps by spreading pesto on the tortilla, then layering in asparagus, grilled squash, zucchini, portabello mushrooms and red pepper, sprinkled with feta.

You can find the various prep methods for the components below.

fresh basil leaves
several cloves fresh garlic
olive oil
kosher salt
pine nuts
parmesan cheese (shredded)

Start with the basil leaves, I used probably 8 cups and still have a TON of pesto leftover, but I really eye-balled the whole thing. Blend basil leaves with about 1 tbsp of olive oil to start with in a blender or food processor. Add garlic, a clove at a time and taste in between (I like it strong). Add equal parts pine nuts and parmesan cheese (about 1/3 of the amount of the basil) and pulse until pretty well broken down. You may need to use a spatula to scoop the paste from the sides back into the middle. Add olive oil if mixture seems too dry. Add kosher salt (and fresh pepper if you like) to taste.

Pesto will be strong and a little bit goes a long way!

Steamed Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus
about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
kosher salt

Break the stalk-end off of the asparagus - they should break naturally when bent toward the end. Place in a small baking dish with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat, cover with tin foil and let rest until you are ready to start the grill.

Once the grill is starting to heat, place the covered baking dish on the upper level of the grill. Check periodically and remove from heat once asparagus is tender. Stir periodically for even cooking.

Grilled Yellow Squash and Zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 zucchini
olive oil
kosher salt

Slice the very ends off of the squash and zucchini and discard. Slice on a diagonal to create long, ovular shaped slices. Layer into a deep baking dish and top each layer with a little drizzle of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt. Cover with plastic wrap that will seal and turn upside-down a few times to coat well. Let rest until ready to grill.

We transferred the slices into a grill-basket with tongs to keep the veggies from falling in between the slats of the grill. Grill until tender.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
3 Portobello mushroom caps
olive oil
kosher salt

Take stem out of center of mushroom caps, rinse and pat try. Drizzle olive oil on a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set mushroom caps down and slide around a bit to coat. After about 5 minutes, flip caps and repeat. Place on grill and cook until tender and easy to cut with a sharp knife.

We also had corn - I placed each cleaned cob on a sheet of tin foil, spread lightly with Smart Balance, sprinkled with Red Robin seasoning salt and drizzled with lime juice. Roll up the cob in the tin foil and twist the ends. Place on upper grill until cooked, turning periodically.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dip Dip Dip

I have become the go-to Guacamole maker in our household. It's a pretty easy recipe I've developed, but it comes out awesome pretty much every time.

Reese's Guacamole
4 Haas avocados
1 tbsp Homeward Bound PattyCake Hot Sauce
1 tbsp lime juice (fresh squeezed or "Real Lime" brand)
a sprinkle of Red Robin seasoning salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (if you like cilantro)
1/2 fresh jalapeno, very finely diced (if you want to add a little heat)

*If you like it a little spicy you can also add about 2 tsp of SparkPlug as well

Spoon avocado into a small mixing bowl. Add PattyCake and lime juice, mash until mixed well. Add cilantro and jalapeno if using, mix again and then add seasoning salt to taste.

We like to serve it with Tostitos Multi-Grain chips.

Reese's Jalapeno Dip (based on a recipe by Katie M.)
2 pkg Cream Cheese or Neufchatel cheese
4 or 5 fresh jalapenos, cleaned of seeds and membranes, finely diced

Place cheese in a microwavable bowl and microwave for about a minute. Stir and microwave for another minute if cheese is not soft enough to stir easily.

Add diced jalapeno and stir until combined. Refrigerate for at least a half hour before serving.

This dip is great with Tostitos Hint of Lime chips.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vegetarian Meatloaf - #2

We had the neighbors over for dinner last night (no fava beans or chianti, thankyouverymuch) and Scott decided to make a fake meatloaf for me and a real meatloaf for them.

He based it on this recipe, but made a few changes (of course!).

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Veggie Soup Mix
1 small onion, diced
1 cup quick-cooking oat
3/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar/jack mix)
1 egg, beaten
4 1/2 ounces Classico Carmelized Onion & Roasted Garlic spaghetti sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
"A few sprigs" each of fresh basil, oregano and parsley
1/2 teaspoon Red Robin seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs Homeward Bound SparkPlug Hot Sauce

Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan. Add soup mix and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until beans are soft and most of water is evaporated. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl.

Allow to cool slightly, stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed. Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, seasoning salt and pepper. Mix well.

Spoon into loaf pan that has been greased lightly with a Smart Balance stick. Smooth top with back of spoon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.

This made a FANTASTIC meatloaf sandwich the next day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vegtetarian Stroganoff, UPDATED

Pretty much the same recipe as before, but I have sped up the preparation considerably and can now usually whip it up in about 15-20 minutes.

1 large package button mushrooms, sliced
1 package Morningstar Farms burger crumbles
dill (I use fresh when I can get it)
1/2 white onion, diced

1 pkg neufchatel cheese
1 8oz container lowfat sour cream
1 can mushroom soup
1 soup can skim milk

mrs. dash herb & garlic

In LARGE saucepan start sauteing the onions. When they start to turn clear, add the mushrooms.

Cut the top off the burger crumble bag and microwave for 1-2 minutes until mostly thawed.

Add burger crumbles to mushroom & onion, add half the dill (finely diced). As soon as mushrooms are mostly cooked, make an empty spot in the middle of the pan and add the cream cheese, sour cream, soup and milk. Stir it all up, add salt, pepper and the rest of the dill. As soon as it is heated through and the cream cheese is all melted, it's done!

Makes 4-6 servings.

We eat it the first time around over egg noodles and then as leftovers on toast.