Monday, April 25, 2011

Greek Chopped Salad

{Meatless Monday}

This is a recipe that I have had FOREVER on a torn out magazine page from Family Circle.  It has been at least 2 years since I even had a subscription to that magazine!  I am so glad I finally decided to try it.  It is a lovely, simple, fresh salad for this coming summertime.

Here's what you'll need:

For the dressing:
3 T lemon juice
2 T chopped red onion
3 tsp. chopped oregano
1 minced garlic clove
1/8 tsp EACH sugar, salt, and pepper

Whisk all together and then slowly whisk in 4 T olive oil.

For the salad:
2 hearts (or 1 whole) romaine, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 med. cucumber, cut into 1/2 " pieces
2 cups diced tomatoes (or quartered cherry tomatoes)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. chopped parsley
1/3 c. chopped kalamata olives
4-5 oz. feta

Toss together in large bowl and mix with dressing JUST before serving.  The recipe says this only makes 4 servings, but it made more like 6-8.  I actually only mixed half the dressing with half the salad for the first night, and then we had the rest the next day...and it was still fresh.  It wilts really quickly, so only put the dressing on the amount you know you will eat right then.

The Kalamata olives are very strong (which I love) but very expensive (which I don't love!), so you could use regular black olives and it would still be yummy.  When I pointed out to my hubby that he better enjoy those Kalamata olives because they were very expensive, he offered a solution:  he said I could save money by not buying the chickpeas.  ; )  He is not a fan of them, but they are the protein source (along with the feta) in this salad.  If you don't like chickpeas, I am sure you could substitute any small white bean and it would work.
I am almost always too cheap to buy cherry or grape tomatoes, so I just dice up a couple roma tomatoes to substitute.  We ate this as our main dish with some toasted English Muffins on the side.  (And in the spirit of complete disclosure...only my husband, myself, and my 13 year old ate this salad for dinner.  The other kids had egg McMuffins.... ; )  It seemed like a good compromise and it left all the yummy salad to those of us who appreciated it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

{Meatless Monday}

The other day I was going through some old recipes I had pulled out of magazines, but never gotten around to making.  I had actually saved one page for a French Onion soup recipe, but then I saw the recipe for this soup and it looked really yummy and it said it was "Low Cal" I put it on my menu and I'm so glad I did.

I just have to say that roasting vegetables is amazing!!  It completely transforms the flavor.  In fact, I am thinking I am going to have to roast me up some Brussel sprouts because then they might actually taste good!!  ; )

I also loved this recipe because it is very simple.  There are not a lot of ingredients and I actually used Fat-Free Half and Half, so it was even MORE Low-Cal and also low-fat, since the only fat was from a little olive oil...and that's the good kind, anyway, right??

Here's what you'll need:

1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds) cut into florets
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, each halved (I just used 2 tsp. minced garlic from my fridge)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth (I just used about 3 1/2 cups of bouillon)
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1 cup half and half (I used Fat-Free, though I wish they just sold a reduced fat...maybe mixing the regular with the Fat-free would be perfect for me!)

Heat oven to 400*.  In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, onion slices, and garlic with olive oil.  Sprinkle on salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In large saucepan, combine veggies with chicken broth, water, bay leaf, and thyme.  Cover and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Discard bay leaf and using blender, puree soup in batches.  Return to pan and stir in half and half.  Cook over medium heat until heated through...about 5 minutes.  Serve with fresh chives on top.

I served this with some homemade rolls.  Everybody ate the soup...not everyone LOVED it, but with the help of a roll everybody ate their portion.  My daughter and I both loved it.  In fact, when she left for school this morning, I made sure she was OK with me eating the leftovers for my lunch.
I made a double batch of rolls, because tonight we are trying another new recipe for Southern-Style Vegetable Sliders.  We'll see how they turn out and I'll let you know next week! ; )

What I love about the soup is how much flavor came from the roasted cauliflower and onions and also how CREAMY it is with VERY little fat and cream in there!

For your information:  using regular Half and Half, it says that there are 98 calories per serving (this makes 8 servings) and 9 g fat.  But I figured out using Fat Free, you would save about 20 calories and 4 g fat per serving.  That makes it an extremely healthy soup...and it is SO yummy.

My husband doesn't even like cauliflower...actually, he dislikes it...and he still liked the soup.

Hope you love it as much as I do!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Break

We are on a little vacation for the rest of the week...not too far from home, but it's still a break.  The kids are loving the TV...and the pool. 
Tomorrow we head off for a day in SLC...looking forward to some great FREE things to do! 
Tonight I made Spaghetti with Artichokes and Tomatoes.  This has become my new absolute favorite recipe!    It is so yummy and you can throw it all together in the time it takes to boil the noodles.  Yum!  Easy and yet something new for our family to enjoy.  I will be posting it soon! 

Have a good week.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Smoky Split Pea Soup

{Meatless Monday}...cheater version ; )

OK...I made this soup the other night and took all my own photos...but NONE of them look anywhere near as good as the photo from the magazine!
This is theirs:

And this is how mine ended up looking:
(But I don't have a profession food designer working at my house, right?)
They don't even look like the same soup!!  ; )  Oh well....

So I just thought I would give you the link to this recipe:  Smoky Split Pea Soup 
I found it in Vegetarian Times...I think a friend had given me a couple of her old issues.

 It is a VERY healthy soup.   I have always loved split if you don't, this might not be for you!  I had a hard time getting my split peas as soft as I wanted, so I would recommend letting them soak all day and overnight and then use them the next evening for your soup.  Next time I make it, I am going to try blending a little bit of the soup and then stirring it back in for a more creamy texture.  My blender was all taken apart for cleaning yesterday, so I didn't want to bother.

This soup is very just have to remember to start your peas soaking the DAY BEFORE you want to use them.  I just put them in a bowl, covered them with water, and then left them alone!

One more note:  I would recommend topping with parmesan cheese (that's what we did).  It just gives it a little extra flavor.  Oh...and DON'T lick the spoon that you use to scoop up your chopped chipotles 'cuz those things are HOT!  ; )

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Cupcakes

I am not much for practical jokes (unlike my hubby who sported a "black" eye all day and told everyone he had been in a fight with another teacher!  ; )

But when I saw the fun cupcakes over at Our Best Bites... I knew my kids would love them.  They were super easy and so fun.

It is just piped on frosting (colored slightly yellow) with a Ferrero Rocher and raspberry jam warmed up a tiny bit to make it runny.  My little boy thought these were hilarious.

They were supposed to have shaved Almond Bark on the top (like Parmesan cheese), but I forgot to pick some up at the store.