‘Vegetarian’

Pesto Spinach Lasagne




Oven 350F

Serves 6-8

¼ cup olive oil

1 large sweet yellow onion

2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp chopped garlic

1 ½ Tbsp Provence herb mix or Italian mix

Optional:

1lb ground lean turkey or beef

Pour the olive oil into a large heavy saucepan or skillet. If you are making a meat sauce, crumble in the ground meat; stir and cook until done.

Chop the onion into ¼” bits. Mince the garlic cloves very fine or press through a garlic press. Add to the pan. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes.

1 can (29 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Add the rest. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 cup pinenuts

1 tsp garlic, chopped

Handful fresh basil leaves or 2 Tbsp dried basil

Place in a blender. Mix and blend into a smooth pesto.

2 lb frozen spinach

Place the spinach on two paper towels on a plate. Microwave on defrost 2 minutes or longer to completely defrost. Place another paper towel on top and press all of the water out of the spinach.

Add half of the spinach to the pesto and blend until smooth.

Save the other half for layering.

3 eggs

Add the eggs to the pesto and beat together.

1 lb no-boil lasagna noodles

1 lb frozen spinach (half from above)

Layer into a 9×13 pan or two loaf pans:

– Sauce

– Noodles

– Pesto mixture (½” thick)

– Noodles

– Spinach

– Sauce

Repeat the layers 3-4 times. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

I prefer the loaf pans because the no-boil lasagna sheets expand perfectly to fit. It also makes it easy to prepare one pan with meat sauce or add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese- variety for the everyone in the family.

Grilled Vegetables

 

Grilled_veg

 

 

Preheat Grill to High

Serves 6

2 small zucchini

2 small yellow squash

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

2 stalks celery

1 large yellow sweet onion

1 dozen mushrooms

 

Wash and chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces. Place in a plastic bag.

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 Tbsp Italian or Provence herbs

¼ tsp pepper

 

Add to the plastic bag and turn to coat the vegetables.

Course sea salt

Place the grill pan on the grill over high heat. Turn out the vegetables onto the pan. Turn the heat down to medium. Close the grill cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir the veggies and cook for another 5 minutes or so  until tender. Remove to a platter or serving dish and sprinkle with course sea salt.

 

You may also roast the veggies in your oven. Place in a 9×13 pan and cover loosely with foil to prevent spattering. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

Potato Veggie Salad

Potato_veggie_salad

 

Serves 6

12   tiny red potatoes

 

Boil the whole potatoes 15-20 minutes just until tender, but not soft. Drain.

 

1 cup fresh green beans

 

Trim the beans and cut into 1 “ lengths. Boil for about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain.

 

3 stalks celery

½ sweet yellow onion

1 yellow pepper

 

Chop into 1/2” pieces.

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp vinegar

Fresh dill

Fresh chives

Salt and pepper

 

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters if desired. Toss everything together with the warm potatoes and beans.

Cheddar Spread

 

Serves 4-6

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

1 (5 oz) jar Kraft Old English cheddar cheese

 

 

Combine in a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir and microwave another minute. Stir until smooth.

¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper

 

Add spices and mix well. Start with ¼ tsp cayenne and add more if you like it spicy.

 

You may store this in a plastic container in the refrigerator for two weeks.

 

To make a cheese ball or log, remove from the refrigerator and turn out on to wax paper. Form into a ball or log shape and roll in chopped walnuts or pinenuts.

 

French bread crust

or crackers

 

Serve cold or warm with warm bread crusts or crackers.

This is the base of several of my recipes.

Spicy Black Bean Stirfry

 

spicy_black_bean_stirfry

 

Serves 4-6

 

Before preparing the vegetables, start the rice cooking. It will be done just in time.

 

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cornstarch

¼ tsp ground pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp white wine

 

Mix in a small dish or glass measuring cup. Set aside.

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

4 stalks celery

1 sweet yellow onion

 

 

 

Wash and chop the vegetables to ½” pieces.

Olive oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assemble the vegetables and sauce near the stove. Set the wok on the stove with high heat, or use a sauté pan with med-high heat. Pour in olive oil to coat the sides of the wok to ¼” in the bottom of the pan. Use a splatter screen when stir frying to avoid burns.

 

Carefully add the vegetables to the hot oil, protecting yourself with the screen. Stir with a long wooden spoon or wooden spatula. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until the onion is tender and translucent around the edges.

 

2 cups shelled edamame, frozen

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup water

 

(Add more cayenne pepper if you like it spicy!)

Add the edamame and stirfry for 2 minutes. Add the beans to the wok and stir.

 

Pour in the sauce and continue to stirfry. Add ¼ cup water to the sauce dish and pour into the pan. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the sauce thickens. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.

 

Serve with rice.

Tomato White Bean Soup

 

 

Serves: 8

4 cups dry white navy beans

Water

  

Boil and soak method for prepping the beans: Wash the beans and discard any floaters or debris. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2” of water. Bring the pot to a gentle boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature 6-20 hours.

 

Fresh water

 Optional:

2 cans (15 oz) Swansons chicken broth

 

Drain the beans, rinse with fresh water and drain again. Add chicken broth or water to cover the beans with 1” of water. Bring just to a boil and cook on med-low for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender. Add additional water if the level falls below the top of the beans.

 

1 medium sweet yellow onion

5 celery stalks with leaves

 

Chop the onion and celery. Process in a food processor or blender until very fine.

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp Italian or Provence herb mix

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

 

Place the onion, celery, oil, butter and spices in a small skillet. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes.

  

2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

 

Drain off and reserve some of the broth from the beans if the level is above the top of the beans. Add the onion mixture and the tomatoes to the bean pot. Mix well. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add back the broth or additional water to the desired consistency.

 

I have found that the boil and soak method eliminates the digestive problems and gas which many people have with beans. Make sure the beans are done before adding tomatoes to the soup. The acid in tomatoes increases the cooking time of beans.

Vegetable Soup

 

 

Serves 8

1 large sweet onion

6 stalks celery

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp Provence or Italian Herb mix

¼ cup olive oil

 

Chop the onion and celery into ½” bits. Add to a large pot with the herbs and oil. Sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes.

 

2 cans (14 oz) Swansons chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 cans (12 oz) V-8 juice

 

2 cups chopped carrots

4 medium potatoes

½ cup dry lentils

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

 

Any fresh or frozen veggies such as chopped green beans, broccoli, corn, peas, edamamme, asparagus, sweet potatoes

 

  Barley option:

Cook separately one cup of pearl barley and three cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to low and cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes until tender. Add to the soup just before serving.

Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Add everything. Bring to a boil on med-high heat. Turn down to low heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes just until the potatoes & veggies are tender. Don’t overcook.

 

Serve the soup as is, or over noodles or pasta. Don’t add pasta to the pot because it does not hold up well for left-overs.

 

Use the left-overs to make Three Day Soup!

Preparation of Dry Beans

 

 

Serves: 8

4 cups dry beans

Water

 

 

Boil and soak method for prepping the beans: Wash the beans and discard any floaters or debris. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2” (thumb-length) of water. Bring the pot to a gentle boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature 6-20 hours.

 

Fresh water

 

 

 

Spice it up!

For chili beans, add:

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp minced garlic

Drain the beans, rinse with fresh water and drain again. Cover the beans with 1” of fresh water.

 

Add spices if desired, but don’t add salt until the beans are cooked.

 

Bring just to a boil and cook on med-low for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender. Add additional water if the level falls below the top of the beans.

 

If you are making chili, drain the bean broth and save it. Use it to thin out your chili if needed. Otherwise, freeze it to start your next soup pot.

 

 

 

Tips for cooking beans:

 

 

1) Don’t add salt to the beans before they are cooked, it makes them tough.

 

2) Make sure the beans are done before adding tomatoes to the soup. The acid in tomatoes increases the cooking time of beans.

 

3) Increase the cooking time at higher altitudes.

 

I have found that the boil and soak method eliminates the digestive problems and gas which many people have with beans.

Black Bean Bake

 

Oven 350 F

2 (15 oz) cans black beans

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies

½  cup Salsa

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp salt

 If desired, spice it up with:

1  jalapeno pepper, diced (canned)

 

Drain the black beans and chop them a bit, leaving most of the beans whole. Mix all ingredients.

2 Tbsp olive oil

Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Pour olive oil into a small flat casserole dish or pie plate. Add Bean mixture. Top with grated cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.

 

Serve with tortilla chips as a dip appetizer or spoon into warm soft corn tortillas.

Red Peppers!

Red Peppers  Red Peppers with Spicy Shrimp 

 

Serves 8

Oven 400 F

1 (6 oz) pkg Uncle Bens Original Long Grain & Wild Rice

Prepare as directed. Start the rice first and it will be ready when you need it.

 

4 large red bell peppers

3 Tbsp olive oil

   

Cut the peppers in half, cut through the stem, leaving the stem intact. Remove the seeds and membrane. Wash and drain on paper towels. Arrange the halves in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Roll the peppers over in the oil to coat. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 425 F. Cool slightly.

 

12 fresh mushrooms

1 large onion

4 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic

 

Wash and slice the mushrooms. Dice the onion and celery fine to ¼” bits. Mince or chop the garlic. Set aside.

½ cup pine nuts

Olive oil

 

Pour olive oil to cover a large sauté pan. Heat to medium high. Quickly fry the pine nuts, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Set aside.

 

1 Tbsp dried herbs – Provence mix or Italian mix

 

Return the pan with oil to the stove. Add herbs, onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 2 minutes.

 

2 cups fresh chopped spinach or 1 small box frozen spinach, thawed

 

1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot sauce

Salt & pepper

 If desired:

I-2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

or

1-2 cups raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined

 

Add additional oil if needed. Add spinach, cooked rice, hot sauce, salt & pepper. Stir and add more hot sauce to taste.   Mix in meat or shrimp or both if desired. (This is a great way to use left-over turkey!) 

Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture. Cover loosely with foil. Return to the oven and bake 30 minutes at 400 F. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle the stuffed red peppers with the pine nuts.

 

I created (or I should say imitated) this dish after many samplings of the signature stuffed peppers at the Red Peppers Café in Esher, England.