Tag Archives: vegetarian dish

Oscar Party: Shrimp Plus Quinoa and Rice Salad

12 Jun Black forbidden rice and quinoa

In addition to the buffalo wings we also made a shrimp dish and a quinoa and black rice salad for the vegetarians. I love shrimp so in my searchings I found a yummy sounding shrimp recipe and then I stumbled upon a recipe with quinoa and black forbidden rice, which I happened to have just enough of in my cupboards from previous recipes. (Remember the Giada dish that used black rice?)

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Ingredients L-R: Shrimp, Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, Brandy, Parsley, Olive Oil

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Ingredients L-R: Shrimp, Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, Brandy, Parsley, Olive Oil

SPICY GARLIC SHRIMP (serves about 8)

  • 2 lbs Large Shrimp (Shelled and Deveined)
  • 10 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Dried Red Chilis (or 2 Tsps red chili flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tsp Brandy
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley

This recipe I found on Epicurious.com and turned out absolutely delicious! Rather than buy dried red chilis though we used red chili flakes that I already had in my cupboard. Most shrimp recipes are super easy and this one is too! If you’re not into spicy, feel free to add less (or no) chili flakes, or if you love spice, add more!

Slice your garlic into thin slivers then sautee in olive oil with the red pepper flakes.

Slice your garlic into thin slivers then saute in olive oil with the red pepper flakes.

Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Sauté garlic until browned, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and chiles and sauté until shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes. They should turn a nice pink color.

Add in your shrimp and stir occasionally until they turn pink.

Add in your shrimp and stir occasionally until they turn pink.

Add your brandy and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and either serve in a platter or in a bowl. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley and enjoy! Great to make for a dinner one night too!

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Spicy Garlic Shrimp ready to serve!

Now on to the vegetarian dish (or even a yummy healthy side dish!).

Quinoa and Black Rice Salad Ingredients L-R: Cumin Seed, Cilantro, Black Rice, Garlic, Avocado, Lemon, Yellow Onion, Quinoa, Parsley, Bay Leaves

Quinoa and Black Rice Salad Ingredients L-R: Cumin Seed, Cilantro, Black Rice, Garlic, Avocado, Lemon, Yellow Onion, Quinoa, Parsley, Bay Leaves

CUMIN SCENTED QUINOA AND BLACK RICE SALAD (serves about 8)

  • 1/2 Cup Black Rice
  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa (we used regular)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Flat-leaf Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

This was another recipe I found on Epicurious.com, however that recipe called for avocado and lemon wedges for garnishing on top. And while we did buy the avocado and had a lemon, in the hustle and bustle of the party they were sadly forgotten. C’est la vie. It was still delicious!

Black forbidden rice and quinoa

Black forbidden rice and quinoa

You want to start your rice and quinoa cooking and then you can move on to some mise en place. Finely chop your onion, mince your garlic and chop your cilantro and parsley.

Chopped Parsley & Cilantro

Chopped Parsley & Cilantro

Diced onions and minced garlic sauteed with cumin seed.

Diced onions and minced garlic sautéed with cumin seed.

Click here for the full recipe. Epicurious has great recipes and everything is very clear in this one. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Finished black rice and quinoa gets mixed together.

Finished black rice and quinoa gets mixed together.

Black Rice and Quinoa Salad ready for serving

Black Rice and Quinoa Salad ready for serving

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Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

28 Feb

As a kid, I hated mushrooms. I mean really, what kid under the age of 12 likes mushrooms? But I don’t think I had a Portobello mushroom till I was in college and it was as a Portobello mushroom burger. It was so good I remember asking myself why I hadn’t had one earlier! So when my cookbook “The Pleasures of Cooking For One” had a recipe for a stuffed Portobello mushroom I just had to make it. It was so delicious and easy that I’ve made it a few times and this time I documented it to share with you. You can make one for yourself, or a little extra stuffing for more guests. And I bet you could do it on a small-scale for a party. Hmmm…now that has me thinking…Anyway, if you skip the meat in the stuffing and use another vegetable or tofu this will also work as a great vegetarian meal. Because I had part of a bell pepper in my fridge I used that as well. It added some great color to the meal. I was also going to sauté some onion, but forgot to once I started cooking. Gah! Anyways, enjoy!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Bread Crumbs, Onion, Bell Pepper, Butter, Oregano, Basil, Portobello Mushroom, Ground Beef, Olive Oil

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Bread Crumbs, Onion, Bell Pepper, Butter, Oregano, Basil, Portobello Mushroom, Ground Beef, Olive Oil

STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM (serves 1)

  • 1 Portobello Mushroom
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chives, Tarragon or Sage
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Chopped/Crumbled Meat: Ground Sausage, Ground Beef, Ham, Bacon, Prosciutto (your choice)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If your meat is uncooked heat a small skillet and add about a teaspoon of olive oil and cook up your meat. Add in your chopped bell pepper and onion as well if you decide to add that them in. When done put into a small bowl and set aside. I have used ground beef or sausage so far as it’s cheaper and I can buy a large amount and use the rest for other meals.

Ground Beef & Bell Pepper

Cooking up the ground beef and chopped bell pepper.

Next, cut off the stem of your mushroom and trim off any tough part. Make sure to wipe off any dirt (especially if you get your mushroom from a farmer’s market).

Portobello Mushroom

The stem is easily torn off from the mushroom cap.

Take the stem and chop into small pieces. Peel and slice your garlic into thin slivers. Use your pairing knife so you have more control in making the slivers. In your same small skillet, melt your butter and sauté the garlic and the mushroom stem pieces for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and then add in your herb and meat of choices. Turn the heat off and let sit in the pan while you prep your mushroom.

Chopped up Portobello Mushroom Stem

Chopped up Portobello Mushroom Stem

Portobello Mushroom Stem

Cooking up the mushroom stem pieces

Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on your mushroom cap and rub all over with your fingers. Add more if needed to coat the outside and the inside evenly. Season the mushroom with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish with the cup side up, the side that looks like a grill. I use a small Pyrex dish. Spoon your stuffing into the cup of the mushroom making sure it completely fills the cap. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top to your desired amount.

The mushroom is ready for the oven. The top is the cap filled with the stuffing and the bottom is with the bread crumbs sprinkled on top.

The mushroom is ready for the oven. The top is the cap filled with the stuffing and the bottom is with the bread crumbs sprinkled on top.

Place your baking dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The bread crumbs should be browned and crispy. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

My stuffed Portobello mushroom is ready to eat! Yum!

Pasta alla Formiana

23 Jan Pasta alla Formiana

The first Saturday of December I decided to stay in for the night to start my annual Christmas baking. But before I could start baking I had to make dinner (duh!), and for that I once again went to the kitchen goddess Giada de Laurentiis and her “Weeknights With Giada” cookbook. Before leaving that afternoon for an audition I grabbed the cookbook to make a decision while out. After flipping through the pages I landed on her Pasta alla Formiana. It was a simple recipe (which in my eyes is always a good thing) and it made enough that I’d be able to enjoy leftovers (which I added cheese on top to!) and share with my roommate (and she loved it!). Because of how easy and good it was I ended up making it for my holiday party later in the month.

Pasta alla Formiana Ingredients L-R: Mezze Penne, Salt & Pepper, Oregano, Garlic, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil

Pasta alla Formiana Ingredients L-R: Mezze Penne, Salt & Pepper, Oregano, Garlic, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil

PASTA ALL FORMIANA (serves 4 to 6)

  • 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes (1 Can)
  • 1/2 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 Cups (8 oz) mezze penne (or other small pasta)
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 Very Ripe, Extra Large Beefsteak Tomatoes (Giada calls for 5, but I found 3 worked just fine with my 8×8 dish. If using a bigger dish add another tomato.)
  • Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
  • Shredded mozzarella or other favorite cheese for topping (optional)

Place your oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees. Coarsely chop your garlic then pull out your trusty food processor (or blender if you don’t have a food processor) and blend together the can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and garlic. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (less than 10 minutes).

Chopped Garlic

Chopped Garlic

Boiling the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth

Boiling the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth

While you wait for the tomato mixture to boil, slice your tomatoes into about 1/4 inch thick slices. Spray your 8×8 baking dish with your cooking spray and then line the entire dish (the bottom and the sides) with your tomato slices. I ended up cutting a couple of slices in half for the odd spots. You should have about 9 slices left.

Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes

Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes

My 8x8 baking dish lined with tomato slices

My 8×8 baking dish lined with tomato slices

My 8x8 baking dish lined with tomato slices

A closer look at the lined baking dish.

Once the tomato mixture is boiling stir in the (uncooked) pasta, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and pour into the tomato lined dish and be sure it fills the dish evenly. With the remaining slices cover the top of the pasta mixture, overlapping the tomato slices so that it’s completely covered. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Pasta alla Formiana

You can see the steam rising from the crushed tomato with uncooked pasta mixture after pouring into the baking dish.

Pasta alla Formiana

I’ve covered the dish with more tomatoes and now it’s ready for the oven!

The tomatoes should be slightly crispy, and yes, the pasta will be cooked. Let cool for about 5 minutes, serve and enjoy! Top with cheese of your choice if you wish.

Pasta alla Formiana

Fresh from the oven, my Pasta alla Formiana smells delicious!

Pasta alla Formiana

Dinner is served! Pasta alla Formiana

Simple Green Salad

7 Jan Mixed Green Simple Salad

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. I made this salad last November, on a warm (yes, Los Angeles is warm in November) Saturday. I walked down to my local Ralph’s grocery store (and boy did it feel good to get out and go for a walk!), wandered the produce section and returned excited for a simple, yet delicious lunch.

The thing I love most about salads is you can add pretty much whatever you want and you can add whatever dressing you see fit. You can top it with cooked salmon, chicken, beef, tuna, whatever protein your heart desires. Don’t like tomatoes? Don’t add them! Throw in some mushrooms or squash instead! Make the salad the main course, or make it your side dish, you decide! Leave a comment with what you like in your salad!

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

SIMPLE GREEN SALAD (serves 1)

  • 50-50 Blend of Spring Greens and Spinach
  • 1/2 Hard Boiled Egg
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or other dressing of your choosing)

Start by chopping your hard-boiled egg into small chunks. Set aside and chop your avocado as well. I saved the other half for lunch the next day! Be sure to save the half with the seed still intact as it will slow the browning process down a bit. Chop up your cherry tomatoes (or half of a Roma tomato) into bite site pieces. Some people like to just eat cherry tomatoes whole, but because I have sensitive teeth, I need my tomatoes in smaller form so my teeth don’t freak out on me.

Hard Boiled Egg

Hard Boiled Egg

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

avocado

Fresh avocado! Yum!

Since this was my lunch, I pulled out a shallow pasta plate to use as my dish. I grabbed a large handful, plus a little bit more, of my 50-50 blend (make sure you wash yours if it doesn’t come pre-washed) and placed in the plate. I sprinkled the tomato slices, egg and avocado pieces around the entire bed of greens. Then I sprinkled some feta cheese on top, making sure to break up the extra-large chunks. Make sure everything is evenly distributed so you get a little bit of everything in each bite. I then dressed my salad very lightly, then put a little more in a little dipping bowl and dipped my fork in it every now and then. The dressing was from Trader Joe’s and is also a great marinade for chicken. It was a great lunch and so healthy too!

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Braised Kale and Black Beans

17 Jul Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Kale. Not exactly everyone’s favorite food, but a super food that everyone should be eating, you just need to prepare it right. If you’ve been with me since the beginning you might remember the experimental pasta sauce my roommate made with kale. At first it was bitter, but after it had simmered for awhile it was actually not as bad as we first thought. So when my fellow cast mate from TRAINSPOTTING, Martin Berishaj, suggested a recipe that was mostly kale, I was a little skeptical. He assured me that it was a really good dish, so I said as soon as I had the chance I’d make it. It only took about 2 months for a weekend to present itself, but it finally did and as Martin promised, it was delicious! The recipe came from a user on www.food.com and my only critique is that the recipe said it was for 4 servings, but it turned out to be enough for 6, but probably because I had a larger bunch of kale than was necessary. I didn’t want to have leftover kale in the fridge so I used it all. Oh well, live and learn. All in all an excellent dish that you should all try! Enjoy!

Ingredients (L-R): Kale, Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Black Beans, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Ingredients (L-R): Kale, Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Black Beans, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

BRAISED KALE WITH BLACK BEANS & TOMATOES (serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 6 Medium Plum/Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 15 oz. Can Black Beans
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
  • 2 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional if you like spice)
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

You want to do all your prep work before you start cooking. If there was ever a recipe that needed some mise en place, it’s this one. Dice your onion and set aside in a bowl. For your tomatoes, you want to remove all the seeds and then dice up the tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes in half and using a melon baller, scooped out the seeds, then diced them up. Next take your kale leaves (and if you only want to make enough for 4 use about 8 to 10 leaves, everything else can stay the same) and a pairing knife and cut out the central vein of each leaf from tip to tip.

Chopped yellow onion

Chopped yellow onion

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes after removing the seeds and ready for dicing

Roma Tomatoes

So many tomatoes!

If you leave the vein in the kale will remain more bitter (which might have been the problem with the pasta sauce), so be sure to remove them all. After all the veins are removed, chop the kale into about one inch strips and rinse in a colander. (*Note: the recipe online calls for 1/2 inch strips, but inch strips work just as well.) Finally take your garlic cloves and slice them lengthwise.

Kale

Slicing the middle stem out.

kale

All the kale chopped up. That’s a lot of kale…

In a large pot heat your oil over medium-high heat and toss in your diced up onion, sauteing until translucent (about 4 minutes or so). Add in your kale and mix until it becomes wilted, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in your tomatoes and garlic and continue to cook until your tomatoes start to soften, again about 3 to 4 minutes. While you’re waiting for all of these ingredients to cook down, open your black beans and rinse, then add to the pot along with the broth after the tomatoes are soft.

Onions and olive oil in the pot!

Onions and olive oil in the pot!

Adding in the tomatoes and kale.

Adding in the tomatoes and kale.

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Once the mixture boils turn to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer the mixture until the kale is tender, which will be about 25-35 minutes, depending on your stove. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you want a little heat), or any other additional herbs or spices you prefer.

elbow macaroni

My elbow macaroni is almost done!

This can be a side dish or as an entrée paired with some kind of starch. I decided to pair mine with elbow macaroni. So once the mixture had come to a boil and I turned to low, I started a medium pot of water to boil for my pasta. The pasta finished just before the kale mixture did. Rice is also a good option, and should be started at about the same time, or after you add the beans and broth in. Serve and enjoy! This is a great gluten-free (without the starch or at least a GF version) and vegetarian option. If you need the urge to add some meat, use ground beef or turkey. Cook in a separate pan and add into the mix at the end. However you decide to enjoy this dish-enjoy it-especially the kale!

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans served over elbow macaroni

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans served over elbow macaroni. Yum!

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