I’ve really gotten into this #Meatless Monday thing once I realized what positive benefits it reaps…both to the individual and the environment.  Not to mention, having a meat-free day also saves a few pennies.  This veggie quesadilla was a Monday evening hit a few weeks ago. I served it with a Chilled Avocado Soup for a tasty and nurient-packed dinner.  You don’t have to stick to the veggies listed, either.  I think it would be great with caramelized onions, sliced bell peppers and/or mushrooms.

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Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas

printable recipe 

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and corn, then add sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle evenly with cheese, top with some of the bean mixture and top with fresh cilantro. Place another tortilla on top, cook until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. Melt more butter as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Just Beet It

December 15, 2011

I may have mentioned that I adore Hugh Acheson.  As a UGA alum, I remember when he opened Five & Ten and I fell in love with his perspective on supporting local produce just a few weeks ago.  Not to mention his beet and carrot salad.  I tweaked the original recipe a bit by roasting the veggies and subbing cilantro for parsley and it still made for a delicious side for the Bison Burgers we had for dinner last night.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Printable Recipe

For the salad

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound organic carrots, sliced
  • 2  beets, cleaned but not peeled
  • ¼ pound goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Cumin Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup pulled fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap the beets and carrots with it after drizzling with evoo and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

After the beets cool, peel them using paper towels to rub off the skin. This is easier when they are still warm. Chop the carrots and mix in a bowl with chopped beets.  Crumble the goat cheese on top and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and ½ cup of the cilantro to the beets and carrots and toss. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette, the remaining cilantro and toss. Drizzle with a touch more of the vinaigrette.

For the vinaigrette

Makes ¾ cup

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan and then pulverized
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the Dijon mustard in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil, then the lemon juice and the sherry vinegar. Add the cumin and the mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette will last for 10 days in the fridge.

Homemade Hummus

December 8, 2011

I have become obsessed with Mediterranean Wraps for lunch, so I thought I would try making my own hummus since the pre-made stuff can get expensive.  Plus I heard homemade tastes better (doesn’t it always?) Well, they were right.  Especially if you start with raw chick peas and soak them for a couple of days. Homemade tastes better and you can make a batch faster than you can say pita bread.

You can change up the flavor of the hummus by adding roasted red peppers, like I did here, sun-dried tomatoes, olives or even lots of extra garlic and lemon. 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • juice from 1 squeezed lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/8-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 roasted bell pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • parsley


1. Poor the chickpeas over a large plate. Go over them and look for damaged grains small stones, or any other thing you would rather leave out of the plate.

2. Wash the chickpeas several times, until the water is transparent. Soak them in clean water over night with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Then, wash it, and soak again in tap water for a few more hours. The grains should absorb most of the water and almost double their volume.

3. Wash the chickpeas well and put them in a large pot. Cover with water, add the rest baking soda, a bay leaf and NO salt. Cook until the grains are very easily smashed when pressed between two fingers. It should take around 1-1.5 hours, during which it is advised to switch the water once again, and remove the peels and foam which float over the cooking water. When done, sieve the grains and keep the cooking water.

4. Put the chickpeas into a food processor and grind well. Leave it to chill a little while before you continue.

5. Add the tahini and the rest of the ingredients and go on with the food processor until you get the desired texture. If the hummus is too thick, add some of the cooking water. It should be thinner than the actual desired texture.

Serve with some good olive oil and chopped parsley.

Southeast Meets West

December 7, 2011

At first glance, this recipe looked like a healthy, vegetarian meal.  Great dish for a Meatless Monday

At second glance, I questioned if Paula Deen got her her hot little hands on the original recipe. I mean, vegetable oil for frying and 11 TABLESPOONS of butter?!?  Since when did Paula start fixing tofu???

After I got over the amount of oil and butter in the recipe, I realized it looked like a great dish with a lot of yummy flavors, so I may as well give it a shot.  I tweaked it a bit with the addition of green bell pepper, decreased the amount of serranos (I mean, eight?!? I guess Bobby Flay got his hands on this, too) and I lessened the amount of butter, reflected below.  I just can’t consciously tell people to put 11 tablespoons of butter in their food. 

It turned out to be an extremely flavorful dish that I will definitely make again.  I hope you enjoy it just as much as  we did!

Black Pepper Tofu

  • 1 3/4 lbs firm tofu
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 stick  of butter
  • 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 16 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments
  • I green bell pepper, julienned

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the black pepper.

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions and green bell pepper. Serve hot, with Jasmine rice.

Super Squash

November 30, 2011

Not only is spaghetti squash super good for you, it’s super delicious!  I’ve always heard of baking this winter melon and using a fork to fluff out the spaghetti-like interior to use as a base for marinara, or anything you’d put on top of pasta, but quite frankly, I was a little bit skeptical.  Until last night.

I now have a new favorite winter staple!  It’s so easy to prepare, tastes delicious (think really al-dente pasta) and is loaded with nutrients.  The topping for the “spaghetti” really made it shine and I will definitely be experimenting with this versatile fruit again in the near future!

Mediterranean Style Spaghetti Squash

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  cup chopped tomatoes (I used two Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 red bell pepper, choppped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and red bell pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
  4. Remove vegetable mixture from heat and add feta and olives.
  5. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in two serving bowls. Top with the vegetable mixture. Serve warm.
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