Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Fall Comfort Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Cast Iron Baked Ziti

 

 

There are basic factors recipes must meet in order to be the Makeover Monday Meal:

  1. It has to have a fairly short prep time, and the meal or dish should come together in less than an hour.
  2. The ingredients have to be easy to find in your grocery store, freezer, or fridge. The use of pantry items is a plus.
  3. The recipe has to be adaptable, even traditional meat recipes.
  4. It should be healthy

 

This week’s recipe for Cast Iron Baked Ziti comes from America’s Test Kitchen. This is a wonderful weeknight meal that comes together quickly and is easily adapted for a vegan/vegetarian or gluten-sensitive diet. The sauce is a combination of fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, mozzarella, and grated parmesan cheese. Moreover, as good as it tastes when you first make it, the leftovers actually taste better overnight in the fridge.

 

Cast Iron Baked Ziti America’s Test Kitchen

GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS

1 ½ pounds grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon

extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

12 ounces (3 3/4 cups) ziti (gluten-free ziti)

3 cups water, plus extra as needed

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup) (vegan parmesan cheese)

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup) (vegan cheese like Daiya Provolone or mozzarella shreds are quite good)

INSTRUCTIONS

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Toss tomatoes with oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and blistered, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, coarsely mash tomatoes using a potato masher.

2

Stir in pasta and water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to vigorous simmer, cover, and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

3

Stir in Parmesan and adjust sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Food Glorious Food, Healthy Food Makeover, Healthy Lifestyle Choices, Midweek Bonus Adaptable Recipes

Midweek Bonus Recipe- New England Clam Chowder & a vegan Clam-less Chowder

 

A Midweek meal to warm your soul

New York is the home of great cheesecake, bagels, and pizza. Baltimore’s seafood and crabcakes are worth writing home about. While Chicago is home to great steak, distinctive hotdogs, and deep-dish pizza. New England is known for lobster, lobster rolls, calamari, and chowder.

As a New Yorker, I do love Manhattan-style clam chowder with its tomato base, but I do enjoy a creamy bowl of chowdah. It’s just the right mix of brothiness from the clams, with a hint of smoke from the bacon, soft pillowy potatoes, and cream. It’s delicious.

This recipe comes from a small newspaper out of Maine. I’ve had it for some time now, and the newspaper’s title has faded. I wanted to share this recipe with a few substitutions to fit different dietary needs.

We’ve included the recipe for clam-less chowder, which is a vegan version that uses mushrooms in place of clams. The use of the liquid from soaking dried mushrooms gives the soup an umami punch. We tried to make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy, especially on a cold day with oyster crackers.

New England Clam Chowder

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Hands-On Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon (low sodium bacon or hickory-smoked turkey bacon)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten-sensitivities use gluten-free all-purpose flour, white or brown rice flour)
  • 4 cups bottled clam juice, divided
  • 1 pound chopped fresh clam meat, with juices
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 3 cups light cream (2 1/2 cups 2% milk plus 1/2 cup half-and-half, or 1 3/4 cups fat-free milk plus 1 1/4 cups half-and-half) (non-dairy: light coconut, soy, or rice milk) **
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Instructions

Set a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pot, and crumble into small pieces; set aside.

Add the butter, onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the bacon to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the potatoes.

In a 2- to 3-quart pot on high heat, boil the diced potatoes in salted water until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Turning back to the onion/bacon mixture, increase the heat to medium-low.

Add the flour gradually, stirring continuously, until thick paste forms. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the bottled clam juice, 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes and clam meat with its juices. Keep stirring for 5 minutes, until the clams are tender.

Add the cream slowly; then stir in the white pepper.

Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve hot.

** If you’re using non-dairy milk, use three additional tablespoons of flour

** If you are lactose intolerant, you can use lactose-free milk

New England Clam-less Chowder

  • 1 ½ tablespoon vegetable or Canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 16 ounces of dried Porcini mushrooms, chopped (cover with hot water and let soak for 30 minutes, reserve the liquid)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten sensitivity use gluten-free all-purpose flour, white or brown rice flour)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¾ pounds of sliced mushrooms (shitake, oyster, or portobello mushrooms are great choices)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 3 cups light coconut, soy, or rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon liquid hickory smoke (optional)

Instructions

In a 2- to 3-quart pot on high heat, boil the diced potatoes in salted water until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Set a 4- to 6-quart pot over low heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter.
Add onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low. Add the flour gradually, stirring continuously, until thick paste forms. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the reserved mushroom liquid,  followed by the vegetable broth 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes, sliced mushrooms, and liquid smoke, if using. Keep stirring for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

Add the coconut milk in slowly; then stir in the white pepper.

Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve hot.

 

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Dinner, Fall Comfort Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Soup’s On

 

Well, November is here, and we are about to head into the heart of the holiday season. That said, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and many of us will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks together.

All of it means there’s a lot of planning underway to put family favorites on the table, and you might be looking to try a few new recipes to include for your get-together. As the unusually warm air gives way to colder temps, you might be looking for something that makes your feel warm inside, and a nice bowl of soup fits the bill.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Catherine Fulvio of the Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. Catherine’s Kitchen Quarantine Edition had a wonderful recipe for red lentil soup, that’s soothing, delicious, and 100% vegan. The addition of coconut milk makes this soup creamy and velvety.  Many of us will have people with different dietary needs at our tables this Thanksgiving, and this is a soup that is sure to please.

Finally, the soup comes together quickly with a minimum of prep time. You can season the soup to your taste. Be mindful of the fresh ginger, it can have quite a bite. Keep tasting as you go along, and remember to use salt and pepper to balance everything on the palate. Also, Catherine has a tip for ginger that I always use. Store fresh ginger in the freezer. Use a freezer bag and use it as needed. Not only will it keep, but it also makes it far easier to use in recipes.

This recipe is Vegan. Vegetarian, Gluten-free, and low-fat.

I hope you give this a try.

 

Red lentil and ginger soup by Catherine Fulvio

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 ½ Red Chilies deseeded and finely chopped
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Red Peppers deseeded and diced
  • 4 oz Red Lentils soaked for 10 minutes in water and drained
  • 20 fl oz Vegetable Stock
  • 14 fl oz Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Toasted Desiccated Coconut and Fresh Herbs to garnish

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 10 minutes until transparent.
  • Add chili and ginger and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the peppers, lentils, and nutmeg and stir to mix. Add the coconut milk and the stock to the soup. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked through and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
  • Sprinkle over the toasted coconut, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Fall Comfort Recipes, Food Glorious Food

Weekend Comfort Meal- Fresh pasta in Bolognese Sauce

When it comes to comfort meals, pasta is right up there at the top of the list. Spaghetti, ziti, rotini, fusilli, linguine, cavatelli, and Fettucine are just a few in a vast number of shapes. They are served in a variety of delicious sauces or gravies, depending on who you ask, but the bottom line is, the sauce feels and tastes like love.

With a plethora of responsibilities at work and at home, taking the time to make pasta and a Bolognese sauce during the week isn’t something that aligns with most schedules. However, if you want to treat your family, friends, and yourself to something wonderful, this recipe for homemade pasta and Bolognese sauce is for you.

Homemade pasta is a snap. It can be made with an old-fashioned pasta machine. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, you can buy the pasta attachment. Both are reasonably priced and make for a good investment.

This recipe has been adapted for:

  • Vegans/Vegetarians
  • Gluten-Sensitivities or Celiac Disease

Fresh Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta by Love and Lemons adapted by Still A Chick Lit

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus ½ cup white whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled (gluten-free all-purpose flour)

3 large eggs  (Just Eggs liquid vegan egg replacer or ¾ cup silken tofu pureed with ½ teaspoon baking soda)

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Place the flour on a clean work surface and make a nest. Add the eggs, olive oil, and salt to the center and use a fork to gently break up the eggs, keeping the flour walls intact as best as you can. Use your hands to gently bring the flour inward to incorporate. Continue working the dough with your hands to bring it together into a shaggy ball.

Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes. In the beginning, the dough should feel pretty dry, but stick with it! It might not feel like it’s going to come together, but after 8-10 minutes of kneading, it should become cohesive and smooth. If the dough still seems too dry, sprinkle your fingers with a tiny bit of water to incorporate. If it’s too sticky, dust more flour onto your work surface. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Dust 2 large baking sheets with flour and set aside.

Slice the dough into four pieces. Gently flatten one into an oval disk. Run the dough through the pasta machine three times on level 1 (the widest setting).

Set the dough piece onto a countertop or work surface. Fold both short ends in to meet in the center, then fold the dough in half to form a rectangle (see photo above).

Run the dough through the pasta roller three times on level 2, three times on level 3, and one time each on levels 4, 5, and 6.

Lay half of the pasta sheet onto the floured baking sheet and sprinkle with flour before folding the other half on top. Sprinkle more flour on top of the second half. Every side should be floured so that your final pasta noodles won’t stick together.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Run the pasta sheets through the pasta machine Repeat with the remaining dough. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.

Bolognese Sauce

2 celery stalks, chopped fine

2 carrots, chopped fine

1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons, fresh basil, chiffonade-style

2 tablespoons, fresh parsley, chopped

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound ground beef (Vegan Ground Meat)

¼ cup tomato paste

1 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed,

¼ cup red wine

1 ½ teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon Pepper

Virgin Olive Oil

In a large pot, heat olive oil over a medium flame until hot. Add the celery, carrots, and onions. Turn the heat down, and sauté for six to eight minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to darken and begins to caramelize. Add the ground beef and cook through.  Add the red wine, followed by the tomatoes, herbs, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally and taste to adjust seasoning.

 

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Dinner, Easy Preparation Meals, Food Glorious Food, Healthy Food Makeover, Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Soup’s On Edition

 

Most of the country has been enjoying a longer Indian summer than usual. However, fall is beginning to make its presence known with temperatures beginning to dip all across the country. Although many are sorry to see the warmer temps go, I enjoy the cooler temperatures. Sleeping weather is also a perfect time to enjoy a nice bowl of soup.

Squash is available year-round everywhere, but there are seasons when certain varieties are more plentiful. I love the hearty gourds like acorn and butternut squash.  Both are versatile and can be used in many recipes. This Makeover Monday puts the spotlight on butternut squash soup.

This soup has been on my fall and Thanksgiving table for many years. The recipe is very simple, and you can adjust the ingredients according to your flavor palate. It’s a wonderful combination of roasted butternut squash, sweet onions, and ginger.  To make it even easier, you can buy butternut squash that’s already prepped. It’s a time saver.

This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free.

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour 

Active time: 15 minutes Estimate

Inactive time: 45 minutes

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

2 large butternut squash (Cut in halves and seeded) (or 2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash)

4 medium sweet onions, rough chopped

1 small fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)

3 tablespoons Canola oil

Virgin Olive Oil

4 ½ – 5  cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Split the butternut squash in half and take the seeds out. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the squash on the pan, skin down, and drizzle olive oil until the squash is coated. Place it in the preheated oven and roast it for 45 minutes to an hour. When you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, take it out and let it cool to room temperature.  Once it’s cool enough to handle scoop the softened squash into a bowl.

In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft, then add the minced ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent.

Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and the squash. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions, ginger, and butternut squash. Add the remaining vegetable stock, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for ten minutes. How thick or thin the soup is up to you. If you like a thinner soup, add more stock, if a thicker soup is to your liking, add less.

Tips

  • You can save money buying fresh butternut squash and cubing it yourself. Split the squash in half, and then into quarters. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin, then cut into medium-sized chunks.
  • You can use unsalted or low salt vegetable broth
  • You can also use unsalted chicken stock or broth to add a little more depth to the soup
  • How much ginger you use is up to you. Remember, you can add more ginger, but you can’t take it out. If you use a bit more than intended and it has a little too much bite, you can a little applesauce to add a bit of sweetness and tamps the spiciness down.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender. Be careful to do it in small batches, and make sure the mixture isn’t too hot to avoid making a mess.
  • You can store the soup in the fridge for up to 11 days
  • This soup freezes beautifully in an airtight container for up to three months.

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