Monday, October 31, 2011

Field Trip: Goya

I almost forgot about you Meatless Monday, pledge.  But today is the 31st.  Still October.  Still made it.

I keep going back to Mexican recipes for my Meatless Monday round up.  But its for good reason.  I really never miss meat in Mexican food. And these enchiladas are no exception.  I like to throw mushrooms in with this combo, but the original is so perfect no rewriting is really fair.  I have a standby enchilada sauce recipe that I will share at some point (if I haven't already... Did I already post it? No idea. Lolz.) but wanted to try something different so I <gasp> actually followed the directions rather than substituting my most comfortable standby sauce.  Except for my sub of dried oregano because unfortunately my name is not Ina Garten so I do not have herb bushes in my backyard in the Hamptons.  BOO.

Okay.  Field trip time. You do need to go out and head for the "ethnic foods" aisle near the Goya section to find some dried chiles. It will be worth the extra two minutes it will take to find them, randomly squeezed in hanging on the side of the shelf between lentils and recaito, where it definitely does not belong.  Go forth and get thee some ranchero sauce. Don't substitute.  Get the damn dried chiles.  Mine were "New Mexico" chiles and perrrrrrrfection.

This is another fabulous Cooking Light recipe. Seriously the best 13 bucks I spent so far this year.  I get an average of 5 meal ideas per issue.  Their new Thanksgiving double issue is also aweeeesome. You've been warned.

~ *Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce* ~


2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups organic vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican-blend cheese, divided
3 thinly sliced green onions, divided
Cooking spray
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
6 tablespoons light sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine chiles and 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain chiles in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add onion; saute 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through cumin); cook 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Pour onion mixture into a blender; add chiles and reserved liquid. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth; stir in lime juice and red pepper.
5. Combine the beans, 1 cup cheese, and half the green onions in a bowl. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 3 tablespoons bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining green onions; serve with sour cream.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tomato Gratin with Arugula Walnut Pesto

The wonderful Karina (one of my absolute favorite gluten free bloggers) inspired this recipe with her Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin, which I have made and LOOOVED.  Perfect use for those amazing waffle bread crumbs and for your favorite pesto.  Recently I've also experimented with a roasted red pepper pesto over salmon. This was my first attempt at a straight up arugula pesto and it was pretty darn tasty.  And after my last pesto obsession ended in a case of pine nut mouth, I went with walnuts for this one.  Omit the parmesan for vegan/casein free pesto.

And you should know that both my boyfriend and I are not the biggest tomato fans.  We both have serious texture issues with the gushy inside and tend not to feature them like this in a recipe.  So this preparation style for them is just THAT good. Another meatless monday, easy peasy. This probably takes a total of 30 minutes once ingredients are gathered, since the prep work is quick and pretty effortless with the help of your food processor.

Tomato Gratin with Arugula Walnut Pesto

Tomato Gratin
4 cups sliced roma tomatoes (1/2 inch thick slices)
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs mixed with a 1/2 tsp of parsley and oregano and 1 tsp of thyme and basil

balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
EVOO, for drizzling
parmesan cheese (thin slices of fresh mozz would be great here too)

3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of walnuts
4 cups of arugula, stems removed
1/2 to 3/4 cup EVOO

Preheat oven to 375.

Begin my making pesto, using a food processor.  Add garlic.  If adding whole cloves, process until minced.  Or add minced garlic.  Add arugula, parmesan (if using) and walnuts and process on high, slowly pouring EVOO until mixture reaches desired texture, adding at least 1/2 a cup.  Set aside.

Spread a thin, even layer of pesto in the bottom of a 11x9 baking dish.  Press half of tomato slices into pesto. Drizzle with balsamic and EVOO.  Sprinkle with parmesan.  Top with 1/2 of the bread crumb/herb mixture.  Press other half of tomatoes on top, layering. Spread another thin pesto on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic and EVOO.  Sprinkle with parmesan and top with bread crumb/herb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and tomatoes are cooked through.

Delicious over pasta with half the remaining pesto and a big splash of lowfat milk or fat free half and half , or simply prepared risotto rice again mixed with half the remaining pesto.  Also lovely as a side to grilled fish or chicken.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

I adapted this recipe from October's Cooking Light.  Theirs is for poblanos, which I am sure would be amazing, but I couldn't find any big enough to do the stuffing justice.  I also killed the bulgur for quinoa, which I have not used nearly enough lately.  

I don't know if you all have gotten the memo but stuffed peppers are totally trending.  And by totally I mean that one of my friends made them this week and another one verbalized a desire to after hearing about both of our delicious dinners. So hop on board.  This recipe should leave you with plenty of leftovers to get you meatless way beyond Monday.

I'm not sure that prior to making this I had ever made or eaten stuffed peppers.  But I will be eating them again, probably soon, thanks to the yum you will find below.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

8 bell peppers, kept intact, tops cut off, deseeded
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 15oz cans of pinto beans
1 4oz can of green chilis, undrained
1 cup of chopped onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 oz goat cheese
2 tablespoons cumin
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Add two cups of vegetable broth to a medium saucepan.  When it begins to boil, add quinoa.  Cover and reduce to medium until quinoa is cooked, adding water if needed to soften further.
2. While quinoa cooks, prep peppers, chop onions, mince garlic etc.
3. Add oil to a large skillet.  Sautee onion for 3 minutes.  Add garlic.  Brown for 1 minute.  Add beans, chilis, cumin, tomatoes and lime juice and cook for at least 5 minutes, up to 10 until tomatoes and chilis are browning/blistering slightly.  Stir in cooked quinoa.
4. Divide quinoa/bean mixture among peppers evenly, layering with a few crumbles of goat cheese throughout.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until peppers are cooked through and blistering.
6.  Top with salsa, if desired.  Or two more chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup of red onion, cilantro and a dash or two of lime juice, salt and pepper.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Green Quinoa Pie

I almost forgot about my Meatless Monday recipe pledge.  But I remembered just in the nick of time.  And simultaneously remembered this recipe, which I will be making in the very near future.

This recipe satisfies crunchy and creamy cravings while still filling you up with plenty of fiber (from the flax) and protein (from the quinoa).  I'm actually attempting to make stuffed peppers using quinoa in a few minutes and may use that as next week's post if all goes according to hare brained plan of the day.

Green Quinoa Pie

3/4     cup quinoa
2       oz goat cheese
1/4     cup shredded swiss cheese
1       lb frozen spinach
4       tablespoons diced shallots
5       oz arugula
2       tbls extra virgin olive oil
4       tablespoons flax meal
2       tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3/4     cup egg beaters


  1. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat small saucepan and add quinoa,
turning frequently to toast 2- 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, lower heat to medium and cover. Stir
frequently, adding more water for ~ 15 minutes or until quinoa is
tender. When quinoa is cooked, preheat oven to 350.
  3. While quinoa cooks, add frozen spinach to a hot pan with 2 tbls
water. Add shallots and cover, stirring frequently until shallots are
translucent and soft and spinach is thawed/cooked. Add spinach/quinoa
mixture to a strainer and squeeze remaining liquid out.
 4. Heat pan and add arugula, stirring frequently to wilt evenly.
Remove after 3 - 5 minutes.
  5. Add wilted arugula, spinach, cooked shallots and cheeses to
quinoa mixture, stirring to integrate.
  6. Lightly whisk egg beaters until slightly fluffy. Add to
quinoa/veggie mixture.
  7. Put 1 tbls EVOO to 9 inch pie pan and put it in the oven to heat
for 5 minutes. Remove and add mixture, patting down.
  8. Mix flax meal and parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle liberally over
the top of the pie, covering well. Press down.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Drizzle last tbls of EVOO over top and bake
for another 20 minutes.
 10. Chow down.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Anyone catch the subtle Pearl Jam reference in the title?

In the process of sorting all my recipes on the handy dandy recipe page, I realized that I have quite a few vegetarian recipes up here. I was thinking back to how it all started.

At first it was a few Meatless Mondays here and there.  Who am I to defy Yoko and Paul's twitter directives? Then I was eating Meatless Monday leftovers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Plus, my default lunch of choice when I didn't bring food - the giant bodega sandwich - was no longer an option after going gluten free.  So pretty soon, I wasn't eating meat during the week and saving it up for the weekends.  This is largely what I shoot for now, though I am far from perfect.  There are times I seriously consider going full vegetarian, but I am really held up by not being able to eat many veggie/vegan meat substitutes like tempeh, seitan and many tofu products. I have yet to find any commercially available veggie chicken (though my favorite vegan lunch spot which also has gluten free bread and AMAZING gluten free wraps has some!), soy crumbles etc.  I used to swap meat out of many Mexican dishes in particular (two veggie taco recipes coming up for next week!) for those awesome proteins and haven't quite overcome not being able to use them.  I also still have the occasional bad day where I feel totally limited with food choices because of my allergies, and adopting a stricter vegetarian outlook would probably bring those about more often.

I have had great success utilizing mushrooms run through the food processor in place of ground meats, though.  And found a fail proof grilling formula that will make you crave 'bellas like they are a truly fantastic burger.  AND realized that I could top it with daiya cheese (IT MELTS!) and not miss a beat.  Woo-hoo.

So whether you are doing so for your health, the health of our planet or intially just because Paul and Yoko said so, I'm going to try and offer my support by posting recipes on Sundays/early Mondays for MEATLESS MONDAY at least for the rest of October.  Let's see if I can keep up...

Hummus is a perfect Meatless Monday pick that can stretch out way beyond .  You can use it in wraps during the week (I like mine with arugula, cheese and tomato/cucumber) for lunch, as a topper for chicken and salads.  Chickpeas are naturally high in protein and fiber.  They also provide a healthy carbohydrate profile for people with Diabetes or blood sugar issues.  I scarfed mine up in a wrap, simply with some Mary's Gone Crackers Curry Twigs, with Trader Joe's sweet potato chips and baby carrots.  And I'm sure there a million other applications I haven't been creative enough to consider.  Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

2 cups of canned chickpeas
3 roasted red peppers (totally optional but awesome for taste and texture)
3 cloves of garlic (you can roast garlic in the oven for 20 minutes before mixing in if you dislike raw garlic)
1/3 cup tahini
juice of 2 lemons (at least 6 tablespoons or to taste)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
reserved liquid from can of chickpeas or warm water (at least 2 tablespoons)

Mince or press garlic. Add tahini, chickpeas, 6 tablespoons of lemon juice, roasted red peppers, salt and pepper to a food processor and combine well.  Add reserved liquid from can of chickpeas and additional lemon juice until it reaches your desired consistency. De - freaking - licious.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Garlicky Green Gratin / the case for kale

Cooking Light featured this recipe in their cheap eats section in October's magazine.  Here is how to make it gluten free and ramp up the flavor with bitter greens and prevent the watery results many testers got from making this recipe per their original directions. 

I like Kale any ol' time, but it is harvested in the fall (through LATE fall) since it is super hearty and can survive frost, making it cost effective since it can be locally grown and is perfectly in season right now, when many veggies go up in price. It doesn't cook down as much as spinach and has a bitter, peppery taste that is a real stand out among typical savory.

This right here is a great QUICK cook ahead meal.  Perfect for making after dinner on Sunday and enjoying during the week as a lunch on its own or for dinner with a side of brown basmati rice, oven roasted potatoes or blanched lemony asparagus. Serves 4.  

I actually made this last Sunday and we didn't touch it until Wednesday.  I think refrigerating this after baking sets the mixture a bit more, making for a firmer casserole. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces pork or turkey sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or less per your taste - I LOVE nutmeg! allspice or even cinnamon can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill white rice flour)
  • 2 cups skim or 1% milk
  • large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces fresh kale
  • 4 ounces fresh arugula
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I am still using toasted and processed gluten free waffles)


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

  • 2. Heat a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sausage, salt, and pepper; sauté 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. 
  • 3.  Stir in flour; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine milk and eggs, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium. Stir milk mixture into sausage mixture; bring to a boil, stir in kale and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; fold in arugula. Spoon mixture into a glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. The greater the surface area, the firmer the mixture will set while baking.
  • 4. Add 1/2 cup of gluten free bread crumbs to the top of mixture.  Top with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 12 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top.