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Archive for the ‘Quick’ Category

Hello hello!

School is going well, but busy. I just had my first exam of the new semester this week – whew! But I am so happy to finally be delving into the “meat” of the nutrition courses! This semester I am taking Methods in Nutrition Education, Energy Nutrients, Nutrition of the Life Cycle and Management in Dietetics; all of which are interesting in their own ways. Energy Nutrients is going to be toughest one because it is nutrition, chemistry and biology all coming together to talk about metabolism. Nutrition of the Life Cycle is the most interesting as we cover so much and get to do some case studies and “pretend” to be dietitians. I also started a new job at the local VA hospital as a diet aide. (I did the same thing previously, just at a different hospital, and for less money.) Three weeks in and all is well there too. Keeps me out of trouble, right?

And I am *trying* to be a good chairperson for our local support group. I have so many things I want to do with and for the group, but they all take time. Which is in short supply these days. And so I am working to improve my time management skills.

So, to honor that, I’ve been cooking, just nothing fancy. This is one of those easy and quick, no-recipe meals. An old friend of mine made this for me many years ago when I came to visit her (Hi, Jessi!). I’ve probably changed her recipe unknowingly over the years, but in spirit it is still her recipe.

Oh, and if you have some extra zucchini lying around from your overflowing garden, here’s another recipe to use up a couple of them!

IMG_4080-sm

Italian Chickpea and Pasta Skillet

Adapted from Jessica’s recipe, as remembered by me

8 oz pasta, cooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into rounds

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

1 Tbsp oregano

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1 can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups of fresh, chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste, (or nutritional yeast for vegan)

Cook the pasta according to the directions. (Tonight, for the first time, I tried Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa fusilli pasta. It was pretty good but be careful, it overcooks quick. I set the time for 6 minutes and it was already past al dente.)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium.Add onions and carrots and cook until the carrots begin to soften. (It will depend on how thinly they were sliced.) Add garlic and zucchini and cook until zucchini begins to soften. Stir in oregano. Then add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in salt to taste.

Serve over the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.

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No official name here, not even a *real* recipe, just a framework for you.

We fell in love with kale salads a few years ago. And I was actually surprised that my husband went for it the first time I made one!

I almost always have a bag of Trader Joe’s curly kale in the frig – it lasts quite a while and is pre-prepped (torn and washed) so this salad is easily thrown together. I also always have a ripe avocado – they’re either ripening on the counter or there are ripe ones *on hold* in the frig. This salad frequently accompanies our other “go-to” meal item, our homemade frozen tamales, as the flavors are complementary.

"Go-To" Kale Salad

“Go-To” Kale Salad

Kale, washed and torn from stems

Olive oil

Salt

Garlic powder

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Avocado, diced

Lemon (or lime) juice, just a squeeze, to taste (a few drops of bottled works in a pinch too!)

Sriracha Sauce (aka Rooster Sauce), to taste, if desired

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Place your kale in a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a dash of salt. Massage kale with your hands until the leaves are coated. Sprinkle with garlic powder and let it rest while you make the other parts of your meal; the leaves will soften. Top kale with remaining ingredients and serve.

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This past week was a bit of a rough one. Still trying to figure out what hit me. I woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning horribly sick. Nothing would stay put. I wasn’t able to eat anything all day, I only drank some Gatorade and a few sips of coconut water. (I was not a fan of the coconut water, even though I know it is better for you than the sugar, artificial flavors and colors of Gatorade. But my nose was being super sensitive and the smell of the coconut water was off-putting.)

For three days, I was only able to eat some Yehuda GF Matzo, Gatorade and water. Luckily I love the matzo and they tasted especially good since they remind me a bit of Saltines, which was “sick food” when I was young. At one point, I attempted some gluten free Chicken Noodle Soup, but even it wasn’t welcomed by my tummy.

After a few days, as I finally began to get better, I knew I needed to get something else into me besides matzo! So I made us some soup for dinner. (I added some chicken to mine (I am not vegetarian), for an extra boost.) It was tasty all around. And quick, to boot.

Chicken (or not) and Rice Soup

Original by Renee

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced finely

2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin

2-3 carrots, sliced thinly

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

1 cup cooked brown rice *

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 chicken breast, cooked and diced, if desired *

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, or to taste, it will depend on your choice of broth

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and cook until almost soft and onion is becoming translucent. Stir in garlic and cook till fragrant. Stir in broth and oregano. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the cooked rice and beans. Heat through. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:

* I keep pre-cooked rice on hand for occasions such as these. You can find it in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging, microwaveable bowls or frozen. Very handy, especially when I forget to plug in the rice cooker.

* Since I was making this soup for both of us, I left out the chicken and added the beans for some staying power for my husband. Then I cooked up a chicken breast separately and diced part of it to add to my individual serving bowl. If your tummy isn’t a fan of beans, leave them out. Ours do just fine with them.

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I know, I know. Not the prettiest name. But it sure does taste wonderful!

And no, not the healthiest recipe, but quick and easy. Which sometimes is key!

This recipe came about this weekend because we had our monthly support group potluck and I decided at the last minute that I was going to attend. Thus I needed to make something quick, and preferably from pantry staples. I rummaged around in the cabinet and found a Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix hiding, so I put the call out on Facebook to get some ideas of what I could make with it. An old high school friend of mine suggested a dump cake. I had heard of them, but had never actually made one. So I rummaged around again in the cupboards and found a random can of peach pie filling. (Not something I usually keep around. Why I bought it in the first place, I don’t know, but it sure came in handy this weekend!)

I did end up running to the little corner store near my house for a second can of pie filling in order to make a full pan. (Always make plenty for a potluck!) My friend said I could also use fresh or frozen fruit too, and later I realized that I have a bunch of berries in the freezer and should have just used those. Oh well.

Use whatever combination of pie filling sounds good to you. I had the peaches on hand and I love berries with peaches, as you’ve seen before in my Peach Cobbler, so this is what I ended up with. Apparently a classic combo is cherry pie filling with a can of crushed pineapple, neither of which I had on hand. So use whatever your heart desires!

I thought it turned out great. The ‘crisp’ topping was crispy and wonderfully buttery. I even had one of the long-time celiac bakers in the group come up to me and comment on how much she enjoyed it, that she loved how easy it was and how the topping stayed so crispy. We commiserated over how when we make Apple Crisp, the topping never gets (stays?) very crunchy. We may have found our solution!

Peach-Blackberry Dump Cake

1-21 oz. can peach pie filling, or whatever combination of flavors you desire

1-21 oz. can blackberry pie filling, or whatever combination of flavors you desire

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon, optional

1 box Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix

1/2 – 3/4 cup butter

1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Dump pie filling into 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and mix into fruit until evenly combined. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the top of the filling. Spread nuts over top. Cut butter into thin pats and lay evenly over top of cake mix and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Here is a tasty meal to help you with eating more vegetables in the New Year! First up, spinach!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

inspired by others, long ago…(not sure where or who)

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

1-1/2 Tbsp ginger, grated

1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (more or less)

1-1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

6 cups fresh spinach, torn if large

1/4 – 1/2 cup water, (depending on how juicy your tomatoes are)

1/2 tsp salt

plain yogurt

rice, if desired

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until soft. Stir in the ginger and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the curry paste and sugar until the onions are coated with the paste and there are few lumps, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and let it simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the spinach and water and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, taste and add more if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, over brown rice.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Click on over and check out the other recipes!

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Mmmmm…sweet potato fries.

Love them. But hubby does not. Oh well, more for me, right?

These would be perfect for serving with after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. Or any old time, say, with some lentil soup, like we did this week.

Sweet Potato Fries with Lentil Soup

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Original by Renee, but inspired by many

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (Or the highest your oven will go, if it doesn’t reach 500. The hotter, the better chance of crispy fries.) Line a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean-up.

Wash and cut the sweet potatoes to desired thickness and length. (You don’t have to peel them, I don’t.) In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix the remaining spices together. Then sprinkle the potatoes with the spice mixture, stirring well until all potatoes are covered.

Spread potatoes out evenly on cookie sheet. Use two sheets if they are crowded. The more space they have to “breathe”, the crisper they will be. Depending on how thick you cut your fries, the longer they will need to bake. Start with 10-15 minutes, stir them and check to see if they are tender. Bake until tender.

Also, check out Elise’s recipe over at Simply Recipes and the hints from her readers on other ways to help crisp up your fries and dipping sauce ideas. These seasoned fries I prefer to eat plain.

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Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of dishes using the produce coming out of our garden and what I’ve found at the farmer’s markets. One of my favorite summer meals is pasta with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Below I present you with two variations on a theme, both of which are deliciously simple.

I intended on getting this post up for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free since the theme was “Dishes so Simple, No Recipe Required” but alas, I procrastinated and didn’t get it up. Regardless, go over to GF Easily and check out the other un-recipes.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Quick Summer Pasta

Original by Renee

No measurements here, just go with what feels and tastes(!) right.

Gluten Free Pasta, my favorite brand is Tinkyada (which is also sold cheaper as Trader Joe’s house brand of brown rice pasta).

Chopped heirloom tomatoes (Yay for Green Zebras – the birds don’t try to eat them since they’re green, and leave half-eaten, beautiful red toms hanging on the vine)

Chickpeas, cooked/canned, drained and rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled – I had picked up some lovely marinated goat feta from Sweetwoods Dairy at the farmer’s market

A drizzle of olive oil

Fresh basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Original by Renee

Again, no measurements but I wanted more vegetables than pasta in this one.

Gluten Free Pasta – see above

Onion, halved and thinly sliced, either red or white will work

Balsamic vinegar

Chickpeas, canned/cooked, rinsed and drained

Heirloom tomatoes, chopped – lots of them!

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Olive oil

Basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta (gluten free pasta needs a lot of water to move around in!). Drain and rinse.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and cook over medium heat. Turn down and let the onions start to carmelize a bit and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over them. Add in the chickpeas and let them heat through, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more balsamic if you want.

Toss onions and chickpeas into a  large bowl. Add in the tomatoes, basil and feta, toss gently. Add in pasta (I wanted more veggies, less pasta in this version). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper (and/or more vinegar) to taste.

Notes:

* Sometimes I also saute a red sweet bell pepper with the onions.

* Kalamata olives and/or toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

* Parmesan cheese instead of feta or goat cheese works too. So many variations!

* Mix it up to fit your taste buds!

What’s your favorite quick summer pasta combination?

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