Meatless Monday: Chickpea Ratatouille

B and I have been watching old episodes of Julia Child’s The French Chef lately. That’s what happens when you don’t have cable. The show is in black and white, done in all one take, and all in all pretty funny to watch – not only because Julia Child is a funny character (her voice sounds like a muppet to me!) but also because the kitchen appliances are SO old and also because things don’t always work out as planned. There is no “cut” and then on to the next scene – meaning if something boils over or Julia uses vermouth instead of vinegar, we see it all! Why aren’t food shows like that today? So much more real, and fun, in my opinion.

Anyway, one old episode we saw Julia make some sort of french ratatoullie. I think I zoned out during the episode, but it reminded me that I hadn’t had ratatouille in quite some time and I was overdue. So, here’s a simple and easy meatless meal you can enjoy. I served mine over a quinoa blend, and B had his with chicken.

Chickpea Ratatouille - i crashed the web

Chickpea Ratatouille (Vegetarian)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into about 1-inch large chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into about 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 peppers (I used two red bell), sliced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into about 1/2-1 inch slices
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped in half
  • 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • salt/pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine chopped eggplant, zucchini, onion, peppers and carrots in a large bowl. Pour olive oil over mixed vegetables and mix well.
  3. Pour veggie mixture, can of tomatoes, garlic, and salt in large roasting pan.
  4. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes, until lightly brown and softened. Check at about 15-20 minutes in and stir mixture to ensure evenly cooked veggies.
  5. At about 30 minutes in, add chickpeas to roasting pan and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Makes about 4 vegetarian main courses (again, mine was served over quinoa!) or even more side dishes (B had his with some balsamic marinated chicken I made).

Vegetarian Chickpea Ratatouille - i crashed the web

I’m also thinking about giving up meat again for Lent? What do you think – should I try it again? It wasn’t easy for me, that’s for sure!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite cooking show?
  • Vegetarian main meals – yay or nay? What’s your favorite? I’m a big fan of hearty veggie burgers, either homemade or store bought if I have to (my faves are Luna burgers and Morningstar).
  • Do you try to eat meatless once a week?
  • Do you give up anything for Lent?

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Some nights for dinner I just want something healthy, easy, filling AND tasty – is that so much to ask for?

Most nights I can get 3 of the 4. Pasta with meatballs – tasty, easy, filling, but not super healthy (especially when served with a chunk of crusty bread and fresh mozzarella .. OMG I can taste that goodness now).  Homemade black bean burgers with sweet potato fries and braised kale – tasty, filling, healthy but not really super easy (well it’s easy .. just takes time to prepare). So last week when I was “cleaning” out my fridge and found some leftover kale from our CSA and an onion – and then of course found lentils and canned tomatoes in our pantry – a light bulb went off. I realized that combining all those ingredients would most definitely satisfy all of the above! Healthy? Obviously! Easy? Yes – I’d be using my crock pot. Filling? Of course – 1 cup of this dish has about 15 g. of protein (and more if you pair it with chicken). Tasty? Um, anything with lentils and kale in my opinion is tasty (I understand if you disagree).

Enjoy the following “recipe.” I literally just threw everything in my crock pot, googled “lentil crock pot cooking times” and hoped for the best. And it worked! Serve as is, or with chicken, which B had. He actually looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if he wanted anything with the lentils for dinner. “You mean, do I just want lentils and kale for dinner? Am I a rabbit?” – may or may not be exactly what he said. I also sprinkled Penzeys vindaloo seasoning on my leftovers which made for an awesome Indian-type dish. 

crock pot lentils and kale - i crashed the web

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped kale (don’t forget to remove the stems)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, if you don’t mind if it’s not vegetarian)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Rinse lentils. Add to crock pot with onion, garlic, canned tomatoes and kale.
  2. Add spices — ginger, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin. Mix all ingredients within crock pot. Pour broth and water over mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 5-6 hours.
  4. Enjoy! Serve alone, or as a side dish with chicken if your husband gasps at the thought of just eating lentils and kale alone.

Enjoy! As you can see, it’s not the prettiest dish, but it’s healthy, filling and SUPER EASY.

slow cooker lentils and kale - i crashed the web

PS – Here are some more of my favorite crock pot dishes. You MUST try the jambalaya!

Fresh Fork Week 8 – And Fennel, Tomato and Avocado Salad {Recipe}

How are we already EIGHT weeks into our Fresh Fork summer share? It may seem weird to say this – and somewhat cheesy – but I feel like it’s become a part of B and me. We look forward to picking up our weekly share, trying the new recipes and enjoying all the glorious fresh produce and some other local grub (those local corn chips … and local oats … and more – were SO good!).

Anyway, enough blabbering with how much I am loving my Fresh Fork. Here’s what we got this week:

  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 3# red skin potatoes
  • 1 candy onion
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 1 lb yellow beans
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 pint sweet cherries
  • 1 quart apricots

And a blurry photo of what we got (I may have been at Parnell’s for happy hour before the pick up):

fresh fork week 8

We’ve finished pretty much everything, minus the beef, which is in our freezer until B figures out what he wants to do with it. Because I don’t really like ground beef unless it’s in a meatball. Even then I prefer turkey. It happens.

Some of our meals:

B made this dish, featuring the cabbage (doesn’t it look professional?!)

pork and cabbage

We had a wine and cheese night – and the apricots went deliciously with it!

wine and cheese

A summery meal featuring potato salad from the potatoes (and the corn, tomato and eggplant are from week 9 – shhhh yes I’m skipping ahead)

20130803_203724

And my favorite (well, not my favorite – the pork and cabbage was probably the best, but don’t tell B) – fennel, tomato and avocado salad – which we enjoyed with the beer can chicken.

20130728_174833

You can make the fennel salad too – it was really easy so here’s another non-recipe for you to enjoy for the next time you get fennel. There was something just so delicious about the sweetness of the fennel with the bitterness of the balsamic. And who doesn’t like tomato and avocado?

fennel tomato and avocado salad {i crashed the web}

Fennel, Tomato & Avocado salad

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Your favorite balsamic vinaigrette. Don’t have one? Make your own! Here’s my favorite recipe – it makes more than enough for this salad plus more:
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up the first three ingredients. Chop up the fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut up tomato into thin slices. Find a ripe avocado and cut it into bite sized pieces.
  2. Arrange tomato, avocado, and fennel on a plate.
  3. Drizzle about 1-2 tbs of your favorite balsamic dressing over the salad. If you’re making mine, combine vinegar, oil, mustard and garlic in a jar and shake well to combine before drizzling a little over the salads. You’ll have leftover dressing for later.
  4. Enjoy!
fennel tomato and avocado salad {i crashed the web}

Fennel, tomato and avocado salad

For other Fresh Fork Recaps:

Meatless Monday: Roasted Beets Recipe (And a bonus post – how to get beet juice stains off a white dress)

A week or so ago, B and I picked up our CSA for the week and I was delighted to find fresh beets! I LOVE beets and find them so delicious in so many things  – in a salad with goat cheese, roasted, on top of a pizza, just alone as a snack, or even in smoothies or juices (ok confession I’ve never had a juice with beets but I’ve seen them at the West Side Market at the stand where B gets his frozen strawberry lemonade and I’ve thought about getting it). B, however, doesn’t really like beets. Still, he said that whatever I did with them he’d try the recipe.

So, what did I do? I called my mom. I asked her what she does because she roasts beets quite often. She told me how she roasted them (in the oven, in foil, and then tosses them in a mustard vinaigrette) and to be careful because beet juice stains everything(the counter, your hands, etc. ) so not to be careless/quick (which I often am when cooking). That is foreboding – make note. And here’s the recipe:

oven roasted beets mustard vinaigrette

Roasted Beets with a Mustard Vinaigrette

Here’s what you need:

  • 3-4 medium beets, cleaned and prepared (chop the top, bottom and greens off- but save the greens! You can saute them like spinach)
  • salt/pepper
  • dash garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, separated (1 Tb plus 2 Tb)
  • 2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 glove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using a brush, coat the beets with approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Create an aluminum foil pocket for the beets. Put the beets in the foil, wrap the foil around them, and put in the oven.
  4. Bake for approximately 45-55 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce through the beets.
  5. While beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbs olive oil, red wine vinegar, pressed garlic and dijon mustard.
  6. After beets are done roasting, wait until they are room temperature and then remove from their foil pouch and peel the beets. The skin should come off very easily. Pour dressing over peeled beets.
  7. Enjoy!
sliced beets

cut the ends off the beets

oven roasted beets

Enjoy!

So I made the recipe, as she shared with me, and the beets came out great! They were delicious, juicy  and even B didn’t hate them. Which is a good thing – he generally hates beets and think they taste like dirt. AND I didn’t get juice ANYWHERE. I was feeling kinda cocky actually, thinking wow I am such a good beet roaster. I didn’t get beets on the counter, or on me.

The next day I brought some into work as a snack. I ate them super carefully, as I was wearing a white dress and didn’t need any beet juice on my dress. I finished eating them and couldn’t believe my luck – I was clean! As I was bringing my bowl into the kitchen, I noticed I had dropped a beet. I picked it up from the floor – and BAM. It slipped out of my hand. Onto my dress. It literally ROLLED DOWN MY DRESS. I had a DARK RED line of stains down the front of my dress! I ran to borrow a stain stick from a coworker. The little Tide To Go stick just didn’t do it – it wasn’t big enough to handle the entire dress.

Luckily I had been in meetings from 8 a.m. through 2 p.m. that day and had about an hour free until my next meeting  – so I ran home. Well sorta – I power walked back to my apartment, called my mom, and asked her what to do. She suggested soaking it in a stain remover solution and then washing it on cold water. She also suggested I treat it with seltzer water, but I had literally just finished our seltzer earlier that week. So soaking then washing was what I was going to do.

This is what happens when you spill beets on your white dress .... okay maybe not really

This is what happens when you spill beets on your white dress …. okay maybe not really

Here’s what I did:

  • I sprayed the dress liberally with my Shout Stain Remover Spray and let it sit for about 10 minutes while I found something new to wear and checked my email.
  • I tossed the dress in the wash, on cold. In addition to detergent, I also added two Tide Stain Release Boost packs to the laundry machine.

And here’s what happened:

THE DRESS IS AS GOOD AS NEW!

Yup. Sorry, no before/after pictures – I didn’t take a picture of the dress with the beet juice all over it. But I promise, it was ugly. I’m not sure if I’ll have the courage to roast beets anytime again soon …and if I eat them, I may have to wear a garbage bag!

5 Ingredient Garlicky White Bean Dip

You may recall, B and I were assigned appetizers to bring to his family’s Memorial Day gathering. We were going to be bringing two appetizers, and this bean dip was the second appetizer we brought, along with Buffalo Chicken Dip (recipe coming soon). It’s so easy, I managed to make it AND clean up while the Buff Chick Dip was cooking.

Seriously, this is possibly the easiest appetizer you can bring to a party or get together. Not lying – there are 5 ingredients (salt/pepper don’t count in my opinion), only one cooking/mixing container is used (and thus needs to be cleaned), and it’s somewhat healthy. See? A win-win!

5 ingredeint garlicky white bean dip

5 Ingredient Garlicky White Bean Dip (from Giada)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley in your food processor. I have a Cuisinart Mini Chop and it is THE BEST. Small and works perfectly for something like this.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl and serve with something yummy – I served our with pretzel crisps, pita and veggies. It’d also be great on some crusty bread (Because really, what’s NOT good on crusty bread?). Enjoy! Mine made about 3 cups or so, which was plenty (esp. with the Buff Chick Dip).
5 ingredient garlicky white bean dip

Put the ingredients (beans, oil, garlic, lemon juice, parsley) in your blender or cute Mini Blender.

5 ingredient garlicky white bean dip

Blend until slightly lumpy, like this.

5 ingredient garlicky white bean dip

Serve with crackers, pita, bread, or pretzel thins and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Spicy Kale with Yellow Pepper and Onions

Hope you all had a great St. Patrick’s Day! I made it outside for a few hours and judging by what I witnessed downtown, most of you were having a good time. While I didn’t enjoy any corned beef this year (still meatfree for Lent!), we did enjoy some green food – including a kale dish like this one.

As B has started eating more slow carbs, one of my challenges has been to find new and not boring bean/veggie/meat (or other protein) combos. B would be perfectly happy eating the same meals day in and day out. Me? Maybe for lunch, but half of the fun in eating is the cooking! And half the fun in cooking is trying new recipes. So, last week for dinner, we were debating on the bean/veggie/meat combo when I suggested cooking up some Kale with Peppers and Onions for our veggie. Not a kale fan, B was skeptical. As I was putting it together, B even made the comment that he expected the ratio of peppers and onions to kale to be a little higher than he was expecting (meaning – “You’re using too much kale!”). Plus, when I had made the Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato recipe a few weeks ago, he wasn’t sure he liked the texture of the kale, but this was due mostly to the fact that I may have forgotten to remove the stem from many of the kale leaves. Whoops! I was determined to leave a better impression this time, so I included one of B’s favorite ingredients – Cholula sauce!

As we sat down to eat our meals, I ate in silence. I didn’t want to ask … but I was dying to know what B was thinking. After a few bites it was clear. It was a hit. “We should have this again,” B told me. YES!

spicy kale with yellow pepper and onion

 Spicy Kale with Peppers and Onions 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, sliced 
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (if you like garlic a lot, feel free to make it 3)
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped / torn into small pieces (about 4 cups) 
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons Cholula sauce (depending on your taste for heat, use more or less) or your other favorite hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat.
  2. Dice the onion, yellow pepper and 2 cloves of garlic.  Add to pan and let soften.
  3. Tear kale from stem and chop or tear into bite size pieces. Remember to remove the stem! (This reminder is courtesy of B)
  4. Once onion and pepper are translucent, add the kale and vegetable broth. Feel free to add more garlic at this time too 🙂
  5. Add hot sauce and hot pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium-low, put lid on pot, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove lid and turn heat down. Add more hot sauce if you like and cook until the liquid is absorbed  
  7. Enjoy!

I served mine with baked tofu and some black beans for a complete  Four-Hour Body friendly recipe.

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Saute the pepper, onion and garlic

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Chop/tear up the kale. Don’t forget to remove stem!

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Add chopped kale to translucent pepper and onion. Add hot sauce, hot pepper flakes, vegetable broth and more garlic if you want.

spicy kale with peppers and onions

All done! Check out how much the kale cooks down.

Enjoy! Here’s how I served mine:

SPICY KALE WITH yellow pepper & onion, baked tofu, avocado and black beans

Some questions to ponder:

  • Have you tried any slow carb diets or the Four-Hour Body? What’s your favorite meal combo?
  • Are there certain meals you have over and over again and never get tired of them?
  • What’s your favorite way to cook/eat kale?