THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:

QUINOA LENTIL SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.

CURRIED LENTILS AND BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!

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Incredible Italiano Veggie Lasagna December 1, 2009

Making homemade lasagna may seem like an exercise in blood sweat and tears – but it’s all well worth it in the end, and once you’ve made it a few times, it’ll all come together in a snap.  I’ve tried to make the process as simple as possible here, without sacrificing any of the necessary steps required for a tasty dish that will leave you and your guests sated and elated beyond belief!  You could skip making the homemade sauce and use pre-cooked noodles and get a good result … but if you want the spectacular … you’re just going to have to be patient.  Have a BIG glass of wine and play your favourite tunes right through the process – and enjoy!

.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box of good quality lasagna noodles

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 head broccoli, finely chopped

1 large zucchini, finely chopped

12 crimini or button mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 tsp each dried basil and parsley

1 tsp salt

Pepper

1 x 16 oz can diced tomatoes

1 x 3 oz can tomato paste

1 x 500ml tub of ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

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DIRECTIONS:

1)  Boil water and follow the package cooking directions of the lasagna noodles – and set aside once cooked.

2)  Chop onion and garlic, and sauté in a very large saucepan along with olive oil until well browned and translucent.

3)  Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and dried herbs to the onion and garlic pan, and simmer until well heated (about 10 min).

4)  In a separate pan, heat to medium-high and sauté broccoli, zucchini and mushroom in a bit of olive oil until softened and vibrant in colour – near the end sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the spinach and cook until wilted.

5)  In a large bowl, slightly beat the 2 eggs, then mix in ricotta cheese, and combine until smooth.

6)  Using a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, spoon the simmered tomato sauce into the bottom to barely cover – set aside 2-3 tbsp of sauce for the very end.

7)  Layer noodles into pan, then follow with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables, then 1/3 of the ricotta/egg mixture, then 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, then 1/3 of the tomato sauce.

8)  Repeat these layers until you are left with only the top layer of the noodles – then drizzle with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

9)  Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes, until nice and bubbly.

10) Remove from heat and allow to set for at least 20-30 minutes!  NOTE – You can re-heat slightly if it’s too cool, but it needs to set in order to slice properly.

11)  Serve in gorgeous big bowls and enjoy with some crusty bread!

NOTES:

– Feel free to swap in and out any vegetables you like.  Carrots can be swapped for the zucchini, and you could add cauliflower or eggplant for a nice switch too.

– Using fat-free cheese won’t work really, but you can get away with using lower-fat version.  If you can’t find ricotta, use cottage cheese instead, but always go for the ricotta if you can.

 

Painless-Meatless-Delicious Shepherd’s Pie March 12, 2009

Comfort – comfort – comfort … all in one big casserole dish!  Try this unique twist on a classic – not only is it meatless, but this version also uses sweet potatoes instead of regular Yukons.  You can sub in a variety of veggies here, just make sure the quantities are equivalent.

Ingredients:

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 tbsp PLUS 1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 medium fennel bulbs, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 tsp black pepper

1¾ cups veggie broth

3 cups fresh spinach (you can use torn Swiss chard leaves instead!)

pinch ground nutmeg

Directions:

 1) Place sweet potatoes and 1 tbsp of salt in a large pot, adding enough cold water to cover. 
 2) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. 
 3)  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter.
 4)  Add onion and cook for 10 min, then add parsnips, celery, fennel, Brussels sprouts, parsley, pepper, remaining salt and toss. 
 5)  Add broth, increase heat, and simmer until all veggies are tender, 15-20 minutes. 
 6)  Add the spinach and stir just until wilted - remove immediately from heat. 
 7)  Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a casserole or 9-inch pie plate.
 8]  Drain potatoes and return to pot, then add remaining butter and mash until smooth. 
 9)  Spread mashed potatoes over the vegetables, set broiler on high and broil until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. 
10)   Dust with the nutmeg and serve!

Notes – if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have any fresh produce on hand, grab some quality frozen veggies, they’ll work too (again, make sure the ratios are the same)1106_thanksgiving_veg_6!  I added some peas too – loves em!

 

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

From start to finish, this dish will take less time than an episode of 30 Rock!  Phew!  I love having eggs for dinner (and lunch, and brekkie, and nibblies…), and baking them with a few veggies and serving it up with some beer bread is like a little piece of food heaven for me.  Comforting, tasty, nutritious and cheap – this is something you can whip together for a table of 1 or a hungry table of all your hung-over pals.


Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 x 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

salt and pepper

2 bunches spinach (about 1 pound), trimmed

8 eggs, separated (yolks kept whole!!)

Directions:

1) Heat oven to 400° F.

2) Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat – add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3) Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper to skillet and simmer for 3 minutes, then add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt, 1 minute.

4) Transfer skillet mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.

5) Beat egg whites until foamy, about 30 seconds, pour them over the spinach mixture – and carefully place the whole yolks over the top.

6) Bake until the whites are set, 20 to 22 minutes (let sit for a couple of minutes so it can rest briefly before cutting).

7) Divide among individual plates and enjoy!baked-eggs_300

 

Lentils, Sweet Potatoes, and Swiss-Chard Curry February 10, 2009

Don’t be afraid of curry, that’s my motto.  There are so many varieties, ranging from the sweet to super hot, so find one that is right for you.  I like ’em all.  This one is another work-week quick fix … and once you have it nailed down, it’ll surely become a go-to.  You can sub in a bunch of different ingredients for each major veg (try regular potatoes or spinach).  Did I mention the health benefits here?  You can guess I’m sure – just look at that ingredient list!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, grated (for fresh, make sure you peel & grate first)
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded if desired), minced
4-5 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils (I use green)
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (or you
can sub fresh spinach)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:

1) In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
2) Add onion to pan and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
3) Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno, and
cook (while stirring) for 1 minute.
4) Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf, then
increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
5) Once boiled, reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for
20-25 minutes.
Note – if lentils seem hard still, add up to 1/2-1 cup stock, as needed
6) Stir in chard with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until
lentils are nice and tender and chard is cooked (approx 30-40
minutes).
7) Before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice – then spoon
into bowls and savor!!!lentils-for-sprouting

 

Baked Tomato Risotto February 9, 2009

Okay, sometimes I just don’t have the time to stand over a simmering pot for an hour stirring away … sometimes I just want the quick-and-dirty route.  So here’s a fix for a mid-week hankering for sumptuous creamy risotto – start this healthy risotto on the stove, then simply plop it in the oven and walk away.  Don’t worry – you’ll come back soon enough once it’s done … your nose and growling tummy will make sure of that!


Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup arborio or long-grain rice

19-oz can stewed tomatoes (any “Italian” flavour will work really)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp dried oregano leaves

1 tsp each garlic powder, salt and sugar

5 oz (1 log) goat cheese, crumbled

5 oz pkg baby spinach, about 8 cups

extra shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400F (200C)., and melt butter in a large, ovenproof saucepan over medium heat.

2) Add onion and stir often until soft, 5 min.

3) Stir in rice until coated, then tomatoes – ensuring to stir often until liquid is almost absorbed, 4 to 5 min.

4) Then stir in broth, seasonings and sugar, and bring to a boil (stirring often!)

5) Tightly cover pan and bake in centre of oven until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 to 40 min.

6) Remove from oven, and stir in cheese and half the spinach.

7) Spoon into bowls and top with remaining spinach (and shaved Parmesan cheese if you wismicrowave-tomato-risotto-de-31096358h).


 

Popeye Lasagna July 10, 2008

I am all about easy and tasty kitchen endeavors and I love a good leftover – and this recipe has it all. Don’t be frightened at the prospect of making your own lasagna. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you won’t even need a recipe! And the stuff freezes immaculately. Delicieux! Plus, this version is a low-fat treat. If you want something dairy-free, use silken tofu instead of cottage cheese, and swap in Soy Parm for the regular.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced (or 1 small can of pre-sliced if you’re stuck)
1 tsp. chopped garlic

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. oil
2 x 26-oz jars of tomato sauce (or your own homemade pasta sauce)
9 x lasagna noodles (regular, uncooked – I use the whole wheat variety)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)

FILLING:

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed (or 1 pound of fresh, washed baby spinach)
1 pound tub cottage cheese
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1] Sauté mushrooms, onions and garlic over medium heat in oil until tender; remove from heat and add the spaghetti sauce to the pan and stir.

2] Place cottage cheese and thawed spinach in blender and process briefly, then add the remaining filling ingredients to processor and blend until smooth.

3] Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

4] Spread half of sauce in the bottom of a 9×12-inch pan, then place a layer of noodles over sauce (use about 3 dry noodles ensuring you leave a little space in between them).

5] Spread half of cheese/spinach mixture on noodles (easiest to drop by spoonfuls and then spread), cover with another layer of 3 noodles and then spread remaining cheese/spinach mixture over them.

6] Top with a final layer of noodles, and pour remaining sauce over this.

7] Cover dish tightly with foil or glass lid, and bake for about 30 min.

8] Remove foil or lid, and bake for another 30 min (watch you don’t burn or dry out the lasagna!).

9] Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan and sliced black olives if you want. Put under broiler for a few min to melt the cheese. Be careful not to over do it!

NOTES:

The lasagna will cut better if you allow it to cool for 10-15 min before serving.

Seal tightly before freezing!

You can add in mozzarella if you’d like, to make this cheesier (just add to cheese/spinach mixture before cooking).

Garnish with a fresh sprig or parsley or basil.