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Entries in Meatless March (18)

Saturday
Mar122011

West African Peanut Soup


There is a relatively local brewery that Joel and I like to go to whenever we have the chance.  One of their specialties on the menu is an African Peanut Soup.  A few years ago, I took my parents to that brewery for lunch and my dad ordered the soup.  He immediately fell in love and would talk about it from time to time. A few weeks before he passed away, Joel and I happened to be there for dinner and I texted my dad to see if he wanted me to bring him some of the soup home for him.  As much as he would have loved it, he declined the offer, figuring it would be too much for his stomach to handle.  When I was planning our menu for this week, I remembered that I had saved this recipe from Gimme Some Oven, so I thought it would be a delicious tribute to my dad!

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Ginger, minced
2 teaspoons Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 (15 ounce) can Crushed Tomatoes
2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup Roasted Peanuts
6 cups Vegetable Stock
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 bunch Cilantro, chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion in the oil until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne.  Saute together for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and sweet potatoes, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  Add the stock and peanuts, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.  Whisk in the peanut butter and chopped cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and heat through.  Serve and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and/or chopped tomatoes.

Friday
Mar112011

Basil Goat Cheese Rounds


With all of this crappy winter weather that seems to have no end, we are craving summer (or at least temperatures in the 50s+) more than ever!  We figured that one way to beat the snowy blues is to have a giant salad for dinner.  I had planned to roast some beets and mix them with some greens, goat cheese and a homemade vinaigrette, but then I saw these beauties from What's Cooking Chicago and thought they would be a great addition to the salad, rather than just crumbles of goat cheese.  I think I just found my new favorite "go-to" salad with all the fixins!

8 ounces Goat Cheese, softened
2-3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, finely minced
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper (I added this)
1 Egg
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs

In a medium sized bowl, combine the goat cheese, herbs, garlic and onion powders, and some freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.  Cream the ingredients until they are fully incorporated.  Using a scoop or spoon, form a golf ball sized ball of the mixture in your hands, then flatten it to form a disk.  Continue forming disks until all of the mixture has been used up.  I halved the recipe and made 8 small disks.  Place the breadcrumbs in a small dish.  In another small dish, whisk the egg.  Dip each goat cheese disk into the egg, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.  Place the coated disks into the freezer to firm up for at least 1 hour.  After they are firm, bake at 375 degrees, on a lightly greased cookie sheet, for 5-8 minutes, or until warmed through and soft when you gently press the center.

For the Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a Ball jar and cover.  Shake until combined.  **I may never buy a bottle of salad dressing again!

Thursday
Mar102011

Sour Cream Enchiladas

I know this just looks like a bunch of cheese, but in all reality, it is a pan of delicious enchiladas!

We love Mexican food, but I feel like it has been forever since we've made it at home.  I was going through some recipes that I had saved (which, by the way, will take more than a lifetime to get through!) and I came across this one from Pioneer Woman.  As I've said before, her recipes have never left me disappointed, so I added this one to the menu.  I made a few minor changes to suit our tastes and added some black beans to the filling mixture to give it more substance.  The result was absolutely wonderful.  The recipe listed below reflects my changes.

12 Flour Tortillas
1 (20 ounce) can Enchilada Sauce (I used homemade)
2 cups Sour Cream
3 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup Scallions, sliced
1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Mix together the sour cream, scallions, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, beans, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Heat the enchilada sauce in a saucepan.  Using tongs, heat a tortilla over the flame of a gas grill to make pliable (alternatively, you can do this in a microwave).  Dip the tortilla in enchilada sauce.  Lay the tortilla on a plate, and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream mixture into the middle.  Roll the tortilla and place seam side down in a 9x12 inch baking pan.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture.  Cover the dish with the remaining cheese and bake at 375 degrees until bubbly.  Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of scallions.

Tuesday
Mar082011

Sesame Soba Noodles


It has been a while since we've had some sort of Asian inspired noodle bowl for dinner.  When flipping through some of my saved recipes, I came across this one from Annie's Eats, which was also posted by several other bloggers.  This was planned for last week, but as per usual, things changed and it got pushed back to Sunday.  We loaded this up with slightly more veggies than the recipe actually called for, but it was delicious either way.

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Green Onions, chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to blend.  

For the Salad:
1 pound Soba Noodles
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
2 Carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups Edamame, shelled and cooked
Toasted Sesame Seeds, for serving

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain well and rinse with cold water.  Transfer the noodles to a large mixing bowl and add the vegetables.  Pour the dressing over the top and toss well so that everything is coated with the dressing.  Sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds and serve cold or at room temperature. 

Monday
Mar072011

Macaroni and Four Cheeses


Perhaps the meal I've been most excited about all week is this one that I found on Erin's Food Files, which was adapted from Cooking Light.  I've made several mac & cheese recipes in the past, but this one had 4 cheeses...all with only 1 teaspoon of butter (I halved the recipe) which made my head spin!  Do I dare call this healthy?  Maybe just healthier?  OK, probably neither considering the amount of cheese, but I can pretend, right?  But either way, this was delicious--everything in moderation!!

1 pound Elbow Macaroni
1 Slice White or Wheat Bread (I used 1 ounce of panko bread crumbs instead of making my own)
2 1/2 cups Milk
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 cup Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Cooking Spray
2 teaspoons Fresh Minced Sage or 1/2 teaspoon Dried Rubbed Sage
2 teaspoons Butter, melted

Cook the pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until almost tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water and place in a large bowl.  If making fresh bread crumbs-place the bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times, or until coarse crumbs form, then set aside.  In a small saucepan, bring milk and bay leaves to a simmer.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves.  Place the flour in a small bowl.  Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Return milk mixture to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Remove from the heat. Add the cheeses, salt, and pepper, stirring until the cheeses melt.  Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well.  Spoon the mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Combine the breadcrumbs, sage, and butter in a bowl and toss with a fork.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and golden brown on top. I also put it under the broiler for about 1 minute at the very end of the cooking time so that it would get nice and toasty!