Tag Archive | medium difficulty

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup


IMG_6654

Ingredients:

1 lb black beans

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

4 cups broth? 2 cups water?

Salt and pepper

Avocado/guacamole, sour cream, and lime optional

Directions:

  1. Rinse beans, cover with water, and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes. (shortcut to soaking overnight)
  1. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water
  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, saute onions, peppers, and garlic until slightly softened (2-3 minutes)
  2. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 seconds
  3. Add the broth, water, and boiled beans. Cover and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until beans are soft (1.5 hrs?)
  1. Use immersion blender to lightly blend the beans and vegetables, keeping some chunks for texture
  2. Top with whatever you like (avocado, guacamole, lime, tortilla chips, etc)

Twice Baked Potatoes with Rosemary



Click on me ^ for a better view 🙂

Tidbits:

I have always loved twice baked potatoes (because my mom’s are so amazing), and when I saw a recipe for mashed potatoes with rosemary I immediately thought I need to put that in twice baked potatoes. So here we are 🙂  While they can be slightly difficult at times (cooking times vary like crazy for potatoes) it’s always worth it in the end (and always tastes better than those pre-made ones at the supermarket). The most difficult part for me is making sure the potatoes are cooked right initially. If you don’t cook them enough, the potato is really hard to scoop and often results in a broken potato. If you cook them too long it gets really really soft and then it also breaks while scooping the potato. So don’t get discouraged if your potato breaks. I mess up at least one every time. It still tastes good, it just looks funny, but who cares?  A note about the liquid-type measurements (milk, butter, sour cream): Depending on how much potato you end up having, these measurements can vary. It’s obviously best to go a little light on these measurements, and add more as needed until you have a creamy texture (I compare the texture to thick mashed potatoes). If you don’t have or like rosemary, other herbs would probably also taste really good.

And last but not least, these can make awesome party snacks. I always make them when I have people over to watch football games because it’s just as easy to make 10 as it is 2. When I make them for a bunch of people I turn them “bite-sized.” To do this, I use Yukon Golds instead of Idaho. I would say the “filler” in this recipe is good for about 8 Yukon Golds, but again, be careful. Yukon golds are a little “creamier” so you just need to add the mix-ins as necessary.

Ingredients:

2 Idaho potatoes, medium sized (or any good baking potato)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

1/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I use cheddar) plus another 1/4 cup for topping later)

1/3 cup milk (the richer the better, but all are good except for skim milk)

1/8 cup sour cream (you can use low fat)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

Directions:

1.Bake potatoes, wrapped in aluminum foil with a little salt, at 375 for approximately 1 hour. A fork should poke through with ease when they are done. (You can do this in the microwave also, obviously not with aluminum foil, and a plastic grocery bag instead. This takes about 5-7 minutes. I don’t recommend this method though)

2.Allow them to cool while beginning step 3.

3.While the potatoes are cooling, assemble all of the other ingredients in a medium-large mixing bowl (see above notes on the amounts for ingredients, go easy on the liquids!)

4.Cut the baked potatoes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the insides and place them in mixing bowl, but leave about 1/4 – 1/2 inch on the inside.

5.With an electric hand mixer, combine all ingredients on medium speed until smooth and creamy (but not watery!). If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can get the job done with a potato masher or large fork, it will just take more effort and might be a bit chunkier.

6.Scoop the new filling back into the potatoes.

7.Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place back in oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. If you want the cheese a little crispy, let broil for a minute.

Mole Sauce with Enchiladas


Disclaimer: I think this recipe still needs some work. I made it according to my directions and it’s not how i meant it to be.

Tidbits:

 I first had this mole sauce on a recent trip to New York at a GREAT Mexican restaurant that someone recommended (Aprovecho), and given that I don’t know of any restaurants around me that serve it  I decided I had to learn how to make it.

There are lots of different moles and I’m not even sure what derivation this would be considered, but it has cocoa powder in it which gives it a rich brown color and gives it a spicy and sweet combo that’s just delicious! Traditional/ authentic mole apparently has 20+ ingredients and takes hours, if  not days, to make. Given that I don’t have that amount of time I tried to find some shortcuts. So I am no mole expert, but I thought this was pretty good. As far as spice goes, I prefer things on the less spicy side, so the recipe is based on that, and then there are some suggestions to make it spicier if you prefer. In addition to serving this over enchiladas, you can also just spread some on tacos, burritos, etc. In the pictures I have it served over enchiladas (top) and  chile rellenos (bottom). The recipe for chile rellenos will follow soon.  The sauce gets even better after it sits for a day or two, so feel free to make it ahead. It also freezes well and is worth making a double batch.

Ingredients:

Mole Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion (I use red), finely chopped (especially if you aren’t going to put in food processor, which I highly recommend)

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp garlic salt or garlic powder

2 tbsp chili powder

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

4 cups (32 oz) vegetable broth (I used chicken broth once and it just wasn’t as good to me, so I don’t recommend that substitution)

1 dried pepper, medium spicy (they sell these in clear plastic bags at places like Fresh Market or Ward’s if you live in Gainesville. See picture below). If you can’t find it, replace with ~ 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, and of course add more if you like things really spicy

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

3 tbsp cocoa powder

3 heaping tbsp of light brown sugar

Salt and Pepper

Enchiladas

6-8 large soft flour tacos or small burrito sized (about 7′ diameter)

1 green pepper

1 onion

1 can black beans

Shredded cheese  of your choice

Mexican seasonings (fajita seasoning, cumin, garlic, etc)

Directions:

Mole

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat

2. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic salt and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally

3. Mix in chili powder and flour, stir for three minutes (add your other spices here too, if you aren’t using the dried pepper)

4. Slowly whisk in broth and increase heat to medium high

5. Add the whole dried pepper and can of diced tomatoes

6. Boil until it is reduced into  half to 2/3 of the liquid you started with (about 35-45 minutes),stirring occasionally. The sauce may still seem thin at this point, but once you add the cocoa powder, sugar, and then run through the food processor it will become thicker.

7. Remove from heat

8. Remove the dried pepper and if you want to you can put a few slices back in for extra spice

9. Whisk in the cocoa powder and brown sugar. (I’ve read that you can substitute 2 oz. of chopped dark chocolate instead)

10. Season with salt and pepper

11. Put the sauce in the food processor for a few seconds, until you have a smooth consistency

12. Pour the sauce over whatever sounds good, or the enchiladas described below

Enchiladas

During the 30 minutes that your sauce is reducing you can start to make whatever you want to put it on. Here’s how I make the enchiladas for this dish, but you can put whatever you want inside including beef or chicken.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Warm the black beans and cook your veggies/meat as desired. I cook my veggies in an omelette pan on medium high heat for a 3-4 minutes and season with fajita seasoning, garlic salt, and cumin (similar things to the mole sauce).

3. Warm the tortillas one of 2 ways. Either way, do one at a time.

a: Unhealthy but delicious: In an omelet pan, heat about 1/8 in deep canola or olive oil over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the oil for about 5 seconds on each side. Remove with tongs and let excess oil drip. Then assemble as described below.

b: Healthier and still really good: Heat non-stick oil pan or very lightly oiled pan to prevent sticking, and warm the tortilla for 5-10 second on each side.

4. Assemble the enchilada: While face open, sprinkle cheese, a spoonful of beans (preferably warmed), and a spoonful of veggies down the middle. Then I sprinkle a little more cheese and carefully roll to close them. Place in a pan that has been sprayed so the tortillas don’t stick (or put a ladle of sauce at the bottom)

5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your pan is full or you run out of things to assemble the enchiladas with.

6. Top with A LOT of sauce and sprinkle cheese on top

7. Bake in oven for 20 minutes

Red Wine Barley Risotto


Tidbits:

Almost everything can be changed/swapped without messing things up. For this recipe I’ve listed the necessary and optional ingredients separately so that you can get creative.

Ingredients:

Necessary

4 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable  broth (or reduced sodium chicken broth)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1/8 tsp thyme

1/2 cup pearled barley (you can replace the barley with more rice if you prefer/can’t find it)

1/2 cup Arborio rice (you can replace the rice with barley if you want some extra protein)

1/2 cup red wine (or white, both are delicious)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (preferably not the stuff that’s pre-grated and in the green shaker)

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Optional

2 cups broccoli florets

1/2 red bell pepper

1 cup frozen peas

Sun-dried tomatoes

Note that the barley or rice can be substituted for one another depending on your preference, as long as you have 1 cup of one or both of those. Also note that the wine choice between red and white is optional, and to be honest you don’t NEED it, but it makes it extra tasty

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a gentle simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low for the remainder of the cooking
  2. Cook broccoli florets and red bell pepper however you prefer, or not at all (I saute mine for a few minutes). Add the frozen peas to the other veggies while they are warm. This defrosts the peas but leaves them with a nice texture for the risotto.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan (something at least 2 inches deep, but with a large diameter) over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the onion is soft (~5 minutes)
  5. Add the barley and/or rice and allow to cook while stirring frequently for  ~2 minutes
  6. Add the wine and stir until absorbed. The time for the absorption here, and for the rest of this dish will vary. I consider the liquid absorbed when I can stir it, and there is just a tiny bit of liquid gathered around the starches still bubbling. The liquid is basically gone, but the food is not cooking in a dry pan either.
  7. Once the wine is absorbed, add 1 cup of warm broth, and repeat the stirring process until absorbed
  8. Add 1/2 cup of broth and stir until absorbed
  9. Repeat step 7 five more times. You will have used 4 cups of broth by this time, and the risotto should look very creamy, almost cheesy.
  10. This time, add the last 1/2 cup of broth. Stir until about 1/2 to 3/4 of the liquid is absorbed, and add your veggies/mix-ins of choice (broccoli florets, peppers, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes for my case)
  11. Stir in the butter and Parmesan (you can go lighter on these ingredients if you want to be a little healthier)
  12. The texture at this point should be pretty thick and creamy (if it’s not, stir it for another minute  or so over the heat). Remove from heat and check the taste and season with some salt and pepper  (it’s important to check the taste first for this recipe because it can get really salty between the broth and the cheese).

Pesto Caprese Pizza



Tidbits:

This recipe was inspired by Scott’s and my love for the pesto pasta recipe I already posted and caprese salad. It can be as difficult or easy as you want. If you want to make everything from the dough to the balsamic glaze it will take a little time. However, you can use store bought dough and skip the reduction and it will still be very tasty (and much easier). For the pizza dough, if you want to go homemade and don’t have a recipe yet I like to use this one. ( Mario Batali Pizza Dough ) It usually comes out a bit sticky if you follow the recipe exactly. Just add more flour little by little to help that situation.  This amount of pizza dough usually makes a 12-14″ pizza.

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (If homemade you typically need flour, water, dry yeast packet, oil, and salt. See tips above for more info)

Healthy Pesto Sauce

½ cup part skim ricotta

2 tbsp. parmesan

2 oz. fresh basil

1 oz. fresh parsley

1/4 cup pine nuts (optional, tastes the same to me either way)

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper (freshly ground, not that shaker stuff!)

Balsamic Glaze

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp brown sugar

Toppings

Fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced (sun dried is a good substitute or addition also)

Fresh mozzarella, sliced (go for the best you can afford, your taste buds will appreciate it 🙂 )

Fresh garlic, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Prepare your pizza dough (see Tidbits above for further instruction)

2. Prepare the pesto sauce by putting all of the ingredients together in the food processor. It may help to add the herbs a little at a  time, and you may find you need more ricotta.

3. Lightly oil a pizza pan and sprinkle with flour. Then, spread the dough on the pan

4. Spread the pesto sauce evenly on the dough

5. Place sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, and fresh sliced garlic evenly around the pizza.

6.  Bake in oven preheated to 425 deg for 13-18 minutes. (Check frequently because cooking times will vary. When it’s done the crust will be light brown and the mozzarella cheese melted).

7. While the pizza is cooking, begin the glaze.

  1. Heat balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and honey in smallest saucepan you have on medium-high heat until a boil is reached.
  2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer (whisk frequently) until the mixture becomes thick and gooey and the vinegar is reduced by about half it’s volume.

8. When the pizza is done, drizzle the balsamic reduction (however much or little you want) and serve immediately

Chickpea Burgers


Makes about 8 burgers

Cooking and preparation time: About 45 minutes

Tidbits: We concocted this recipe based on some suggestions from one of our go-to cookbooks. The seasoning can be customized based on preferences and the end result is something tasty somewhere between a hamburger and falafel. I like to let as little as possible go to waste when making something, so I include any of the leftover toppings in the mix so that they don’t go unused.

Main ingredients:
1 medium onion

1 egg

1 cup of oats

1 can of chickpeas with liquid set aside

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup mix of your choice of cheeses (parmesan, swiss, goat cheese, etc)

Roughly 2-3 tablespoons of ketchup

Toppings – Tomato, lettuce, red onion, etc (optional)

Burger Buns

Seasoning:
Tobasco sauce

Thyme

Marjoram

Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Put everything except for the toppings into a food processor. Add the seasoning based on your own personal tastes. If you are going to be putting anything on top of  the burger, like a tomato, slice up what you’ll be using ahead of time, and put the remainder in the food processor. Pulse until mixed, but still chunky. The mix should be able to hold its shape, but may be a bit mushy. If it is too dry, add some of the chickpea broth, if its too runny, add some more oatmeal. Cool in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Take the mix out of the freezer and form small patties (smaller ones will stay together better than larger ones).

3. Heat up a grill pan (if you have one) or a regular pan (preferably non-stick) to medium-high heat.

4. Coat with either spray oil or any kind of cooking oil.

5. Cook the patties for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Don’t try to flip the patties too soon though, because they may fall apart.

6. Enjoy with mustard, ketchup, and anything else you like!

Mexican Mac & Cheese


Tidbits: There are probably more varieties of Mac & Cheese than anyone could count, so why not add another to the list? The inspiration comes from Scott’s love for Mexican and Italian food. So I took a basic mac and cheese recipe and Mexified it.

  1. To unmexify this (which is what I do for Thanksgiving) take out the chili powder, poblano and red pepper, and mexican cream. Do everything else the same. If you do unmexify this, I definitely recommend adding broccoli to the recipe. Cook the broccoli florets with the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  2. You don’t have to use the cheeses listed. If you prefer a different combo, have at it.
  3. For a healthier option, you can use whole wheat pasta and milk and cheeses with a lower fat content (and nix the cream). Note that the sauce will be a bit thinner with low fat milk.

Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni elbows or corkscrew pasta

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 poblano pepper, chopped (make sure you get the ribs and seeds out if you don’t want a lot of heat)

1 red pepper, chopped

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

2 cups whole milk

1/8 cup Mexican cream (this ingredient is not necessary if you can’t find it/don’t have it)

1 cup vegetable broth

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup bread crumbs (these are also not necessary, but always yummy)

Salt & Pepper (freshly ground, not that shaker stuff!)

Directions:

  1. Mentally prepare yourself for multi-tasking. There’s a lot going on at once, but it’s ok if things finish early/late . It’s all getting mixed together at the end.
  2. Cook pasta as directed (but check the Tips & Tricks page for some advice on this)
  3. In the mean time, heat large saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Chop the onion (fairly small pieces), poblano pepper, red pepper, and  garlic, then cook in this pan for ~ 5 minutes. Add a few dashes of the seasonings that you are going to use later for a little more flavor.
  4. Heat medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Now for the roux (which will thicken your sauce, so this is important!).  Add butter to the sauce pan and melt. Then add the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Whisk until roux bubbles and cook for about a minute.
  6. Whisk milk, broth, and Mexican cream into the roux raise the stove to high heat until it’s boiling. Watch closely because the milk will boil fast and wildly! Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt.
  8. Combine drained pasta, cheese,  veggies and plenty of salt & pepper in a 9×13 pan (use a non-stick pan or cooking spray for easy cleaning)
  9. You could eat this now if you’re really hungry! Or…move on to step 10.
  10. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and bake at 350º for about 15-20 minutes.
  1. Mentally prepare yourself for multi-tasking. There’s a lot going on at once, but it’s ok if things finish early/late . It’s all getting mixed together at the end.
  2. Cook pasta as directed (but check the Tips & Tricks page for some advice on this)
  3. In the mean time, heat large saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Chop the onion (fairly small pieces), poblano pepper, red pepper, and  garlic, then cook in this pan for ~ 5 minutes. Add a few dashes of the seasonings that you are going to use later for a little more flavor.
  4. Heat medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Now for the roux (which will thicken your sauce, so this is important!).  Add butter to the sauce pan and melt. Then add the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Whisk until roux bubbles and cook for about a minute.
  1. Whisk milk, broth, and Mexican cream into the roux raise the stove to high heat until it’s boiling. Watch closely because the milk will boil fast and wildly! Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  1. Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt.
  2. Combine drained pasta, cheese,  veggies and plenty of salt & pepper in a 9×13 pan (use a non-stick pan or cooking spray for easy cleaning)
  3. You could eat this now if you’re really hungry! Or…move on to step 10.
  1. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.