Category: Main course

Curried Broccoli-Almond Brown Rice Salad–Gluten Free and Vegan for Thanksgiving

Curried Broccoli-Almond Brown Rice Salad–Gluten Free and Vegan for Thanksgiving

IMG_6886I’ve been dreaming about a gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving dinner for the blog.  Not that I truly follow either diet totally (thought I eat vegan quite a bit for health reasons); I simply want the challenge.   Either direction is simpler than both together, as anyone who’s tried to make both vegan and gluten-free bread will tell you.  While I’ve got several recipes in-process, I thought it might be fun to have more than one entree or main dish. As it was Dinner on the Grounds at First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs — the time when we celebrate our congregation’s giving and commitments — I made this quick brown rice and broccoli dish for the meal.  While it might feel like a salad, and perhaps it technically is, I think it’s hefty enough to fill you up for days and feels more like a casserole!  This recipe makes a big bowlful and is enough for 12 side servings or maybe 8 as a main dish.  Even if you don’t eat gluten free or vegan, you’ll like this healthy and tasty dish.  I was very sad to see there was none left to take home.

how you might change it up……

I used currants in the dish, but feel free to substitute dried cranberries for a more festive Thanksgiving table. Raisins or chopped figs or dates would be fine, too; I just like the tiny sweetness of the currants myself.  There’s no garlic, though you might add some –no more than a single finely minced single clove unless you cook it with the rice. Minced celery could be an addition to increase the crunch factor. Walnuts or pecans could replace the sliced almonds; toast them in a dry skillet over low flame for 6 or 7 minutes.  Could you use white rice?  Sure; brown rice has more protein, though, which is a big consideration for a vegan dish. Wild rice would be glorious, I’d think. Carnivores:  Throw in a couple of cups chopped chicken or leftover turkey.

This morning I’m cooking a big pot of beef-vegetable soup for Inter-Faith Hospitality Network (IHN), which is a group of local churches that houses and feeds homeless families, as well as helps them find jobs and permanent homes.  I’ve been cooking these meals for many years now and not much feels better when you love to be in the kitchen like I do. Dave will go with me and we’re working with the folks from Temple Shalom. This time we have a companion dog, too; I get to bring dog treats!

Try this:

CURRIED BROCCOLI-ALMOND BROWN RICE SALAD

12 side servings  or  6-8 main dish servings

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil –can sub canola oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 10 scallions, minced – white and green parts
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dried black currants or 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt

In a medium pot, heat water to boiling; add rice with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper.  Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until tender.  While still hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the cooked broccoli, and almonds. Stir well and drizzle with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

Stir in currants, curry powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste), crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well. Taste and readjust seasonings, including curry powder.  Add an extra drizzle or two of vinegar and/or oil to moisten and season if needed. You might also want to add more  almonds or currants to taste; I liked the dish garnished with extra for looks and flavor.

Serve immediately at room temperature.  You can also cover the dish well, refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature, and serve the next day.  If the rice seems dry, moisten using a tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir well.

{printable recipe}

(Below:  Rosie and Tucker taking a nap while I made the beef stock this morning and granddaughter Piper doing a little dance to her own beat.)

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Piper dancing to her own beat!󾌬

Sing a new song,

Alyce

 

One Pan-Pork Chops with Potatoes, Onions, Squash, and Apples

One Pan-Pork Chops with Potatoes, Onions, Squash, and Apples

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A dear friend of mine named Joyce once wrote a card — one of many she’s sent over the years — and mentioned she was still making my pork chop with potatoes and apples supper.  I vaguely remembered that meal, but it was one of those quick meals I never bothered to write down.  These days I keep a cooking journal and so have records of meals or at least titles and approximate amounts.   (Well, I’m supposed to anyway.  Since the kitchen remodel I’m still finding things.  Do you know where the lids are for my small Pyrex dishes?  Or my good silver??)

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Late Friday afternoon found me cooking up two big pots of Pumpkin-Chicken Chili *-– one for us to share with neighbors and one for me to have in the DACOR kitchen at Shouse Appliance on Saturday.  I needed to make a vat of pinto beans laced with bacon, so those were bubbling away on another burner.  Enter Dave sniffing around for dinner.IMG_6813

(Apple-Cheddar Salad recipe here.)

Since I didn’t want him to overdose on chili, I got out my big sauté pan — it’s about 5 quarts — and threw in a few quickly sliced potatoes, onions, and apples.  On the counter was a yellow (summer) squash that had seen better days.  I sliced it and threw that in, too.  After those goodies were about half-way tender, I shoved them to the side of the pan and added some oiled and seasoned pork chops.  Lid on and dinner was done by the time I set the table and Dave opened a bottle of Pinot Noir.

*If you ate this chili in the Dacor kitchen, it differs from the recipe in three ways: I used beer instead of wine and added cooked Italian sausage as well as the bacon in the beans.

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Above: I had the pups all “dressed” for Halloween and a big bowl of candy. We had two trick-or-treaters. The name Rosie seems to be sticking, despite my love for “Mara,” and all the other wonderful suggestions we’ve received.  I think it’s because I like to sing this old song to her.  This  morning I found her asleep on my feet while I was checking email.  She’s doing wonderfully well, though we’re still working hard on house training. Puppies.

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 Happy Fall cooking…

Below:  Rosie practicing “Come” with Dave in the front yard.

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ONE-PAN PORK CHOPS WITH POTATOES, ONIONS, SQUASH, AND APPLES

SERVES 2    —   Easily doubled

There is enough of the potato mixture to serve another day with eggs or you might be able to stretch it to serve four if you can fit four chops in your pan and serve a green vegetable or salad as a side.  The wine or water makes just a little sauce to keep it all moist.

To a large, deep skillet or sauté pan heated over medium-high flame, add 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil along with 3 sliced potatoes, 1 large sliced onion, 1 sliced yellow (summer) squash, and 1 cored and sliced apple.  Season generously with seasoned or kosher salt, pepper, and a good pinch of crushed red pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or so until all are at least half-way tender. Push the potato mixture to the sides of the pan to make room for the chops.

Add 2 thick bone-in pork chops you’ve brushed with oil and seasoned well with salt, pepper, and a good pinch of dried thyme.  Cook until the chops are well- browned on one side and turn over to brown the other side.  Stir the vegetables and apples, pour in 1/4 cup white wine*, then cover and reduce heat until everything is tender.  Use an instant-read thermometer to check the chops for doneness. It should read 140 degrees.  Let dinner rest in pan five minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with the grated zest of one lemon.

*Can sub water or chicken broth for wine. For a more smoothly silky sauce, dab in a tablespoon of butter as well.

{printable recipe}

Need an oven version that serves 4?  Here’s something similar you might adapt: SPRUCE EATS  PORK CHOP AND POTATO SHEET PAN MEAL


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Sing a new song; cook some pork chops,

Alyce

One-Pan Seared Salmon with Onions and Tomatoes on Lemony Greens–10-Minute Dinner

One-Pan Seared Salmon with Onions and Tomatoes on Lemony Greens–10-Minute Dinner

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I know wild salmon is good for you.  And I truly eat it because it is. I also eat it because it’s fast, delicious, versatile, filling, and simple to cook. Is it cheap?  Certainly not.  It’s not even inexpensive, but it’s a lot of food for the time and money.  Given the number of times a week Americans spend their cash in restaurants or Starbucks, salmon’s a good value.  I cook salmon in many ways and rarely the same way twice though I’m partial to wrapping a side of salmon in foil and roasting it in the oven.  It’ll feed several folks or two of you for a few days.  Think salmon salad, scrambled eggs with salmon chunks, fish sandwiches, salmon nicoise….

This tiny, little bitty recipe (if you can call if that) focuses on the fast virtue of a salmon meal.  For the many, many people who consistently say to me, “I just don’t have time to cook. It has to be really fast and easy,” this is your dinner.  I do sometimes think that those who insist they have no time to cook really don’t spend the time to plan and shop or to make sure their pantries, fridges, and freezers are stocked with simple possibilities.  So many luscious, healthy meals are so very fast and are worth the time you spend on your health and well-being.   Try this sweet recipe that works as easily for one person as it does for two or four or more.  By chance, not by design, it’s also gluten-free and South Beach Diet friendly.  If you’d rather grill the salmon, have it your way; it’ll take longer to heat the grill if time is of the essence.  Whatever you do, cook tonight, friends:

ONE-PAN SALMON WITH ONIONS AND TOMATOES ON LEMONY GREENS

serves 2

  • 4 cups fresh greens of your choice (If you have a few basil leaves or chopped fresh parsley, add that, too.)
  • 1 fresh lemon, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (if desired)
  • 2  4 – 6 ounce salmon fillets
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Divide greens between two large, shallow serving bowls or plates.  Squeeze half of the lemon over the greens and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside while you cook the salmon.

Heat a  9 or 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high flame.  Add one tablespoon of the oil and let sit a minute to heat.  Place salmon, skin side up, in pan with the onion and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.  Cover and cook 4 minutes or so.  Turn over the salmon fillets, add tomatoes, cover, and cook another 3-4 minutes or until salmon is crispy, firm, but still pink and tender at center. Aim for juicy.

Divide the salmon, onions, and tomatoes between the two plates and squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over the salmon.  Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Cook’s Notes: If you have frozen individual salmon fillets, you can cook them just as I have in the recipe–it’ll just take a bit longer and you may need to lower the heat after you turn the fillets.   Don’t hesitate.  Be of great courage.

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WINE:  Pinot Noir.  Oregon if you can.

DESSERT:  It’s summer, have a few strawberries and a great cup of coffee on the front porch.

Here’s one pic I snapped of Tucker and Miss Gab  as I cooked.  (Miss Gab is feeling very well. Thanks to all who’ve inquired.)

IMG_5961Enjoy!

Looking for something great to do this summer?  Feed the kids!  No Kid Hungry–click here.

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Sing a new song,

Alyce

Ina Fridays — Main Dishes — Blue Cheese Burgers with Garlic Grilled Potatoes and Alyce’s Instant Pickles

Ina Fridays — Main Dishes — Blue Cheese Burgers with Garlic Grilled Potatoes and Alyce’s Instant Pickles

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 INA FRIDAYS –First Friday of every month. Come cook some Ina with us this weekend.  Scroll down to join the group. ♥♥♥         Upcoming:  Desserts:  July 4.     Check out Ina Fridays on Pinterest.

As a cook and a lover of my friends and family, one of my frequent questions to pose is:

What’s your favorite meal?

People will often need a moment because we have so very many things we love.  I myself can unequivocally answer,

Pizza!

This even though I often live on eggs, don’t particularly want to live without asparagus, and am rarely more pleased than when there’s beef stew for dinner.  I like great individual artisan pizza, take-out or delivery pizza, homemade pizza (my son makes the best), and probably only draw the line at frozen pizza — though I’ll eat Lou Malnati’s anytime, good Chicago girl that I am. I love pizza so much that I’m not picky. (Ok, I don’t do Chucky Cheese.)  But I’m amazed how many times Americans will answer, “Hamburgers”  when it comes to their favorite food. They include fries more than half the time, I’d wager. (Click HERE for a list of Top 50 American Foods.)  And while they love a great or famous burger from a bar, I think they’re even happier with a summertime grilled-at-home version or even a drive-in dive sandwich. (If I jump in the car, I can be at Cy’s in two minutes with a green line down at the corner.)  Continue reading “Ina Fridays — Main Dishes — Blue Cheese Burgers with Garlic Grilled Potatoes and Alyce’s Instant Pickles”

One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl

One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl

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There’s something down-to-earth, cozy, and comfortable about one-pot meals.  Particularly one-pot meals that include pasta, vegetables, and protein.  The Mexican cooks have it all with their sopas secas, which include the ubiquitous  “Mexican Rice,” but also include pots of pasta or even lentils and occasionally beans.  Sopa seca means dry soup and, to our ears and cooking hearts, just means you only put enough liquid in the dry rice, pasta, lentils, or beans, to cook the ingredients–no more.  In other words, if you cooked pasta in the traditional way, you’d cook it in a large pot of boiling water and drain it.  Here, you use just enough liquid (broth or water) to get everything tender and creamy without the addition of cream.  Though a scoop of sour cream often wouldn’t go amiss.

For Good Friday — or any night when time is of the essence and meat isn’t on the menu — try this quick and easy one-pot dinner I made using leftover salmon the other night.  If you have no leftover protein, you can, while the pasta simmers, quickly cook up a small piece of salmon or even a couple of chicken thighs if you’re indulging in “meat.” Alternately, you could put small fresh pieces of salmon into the pot for the last few minutes.  (I haven’t tried this, but I’m guessing it would work.)

I’ll give directions rather than a recipe because you absolutely make this with what you have on hand.  Basically you’ll cook about four cups chopped vegetables in oil with garlic, add a pound of broken pasta and a quart of broth, and cook it all until it’s done, stirring in already-cooked salmon right at the end.   If you have no salmon, or don’t eat fish, skip it; it’ll be a lovely vegetarian meal.  Season the whole pot with lots of fresh chopped parsley or basil or whatever fresh soft herb you have.  Leftovers are epic.  Here’s a clearer idea as long as you remember the vegetables can be switched out for your own choices:

Continue reading “One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl”

Marinated Sirloin with Asparagus-Fenced Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Marinated Sirloin with Asparagus-Fenced Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

IMG_5209I admit it’s difficult or a bit embarrassing, maybe, to put up a grill recipe.  It was -12 in St. Paul, Minnesota today.  But it’s 60 here and while winter is only a day or two away from returning, I’ve been taking advantage of our brief spring respite for the past couple of days.

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(above:  first robin in our back yard this spring)

If I drive around the grocery store parking lot, there are still piles of gritty-gray and black snow several feet high.  I know it’s nothing like up north, but winter hasn’t disappeared totally and I know it’ll be back to bite us on the butt again.

(below:  the tiny woods between our house and our neighbors’ this week– complete with young doe who still runs around with her mom)

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Continue reading “Marinated Sirloin with Asparagus-Fenced Cheddar Mashed Potatoes”

Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

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My daughter-in-law, Jami,  pregnant with our granddaughter, hasn’t had much appetite.  I said to her, “What sounds good?”  She said, “I’m supposed to be eating more red meat, but I just don’t feel like eating.  I loved that salmon you made last week.”  So I made the salmon (or Dave did–on the grill) and also a couple of strip steaks.  She loves cauliflower, so that, too was on the menu–steamed and topped with a generous grating of sharp cheddar. (No leftover cauliflower!)  A pot of jasmine rice finished out the meal, as Jami is Gluten-Free.

Over the meal, which Jami ate if not with abandon, at least with appetite, we talked baby names.  Samantha came up, as did Gwendolyn.  Aileen was uttered.  “What Celtic names do you know?”  Well, I couldn’t think of many Celtic names, but I did tell her the names of our grandmothers, just for fun:

  • Lela
  • May
  • Leona
  • Laura (pronounced Lara)

They of course already knew their own grandmother’s names, though I later realized that two of them shared the middle name Jean. Continue reading “Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette”

Grilled Tuna Bowl Tonight–Rice and Beans for Lunch Tomorrow

Grilled Tuna Bowl Tonight–Rice and Beans for Lunch Tomorrow

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Have a healthy, happy Valentine’s Day!

Lately I’ve been looking for something I could make that would include:

  • protein
  • whole grains
  • vegetables
  • dark, leafy greens

Dave and I both love meals in bowls. The búns and salads at one of our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Cafe, are perfect one-dish meals because they’re full of noodles or greens, herbs, chicken or tofu or shrimp, and are happily topped by a tiny load of peanuts. The Chipotle bowls and salads are addictive and are happy layers of rice and beans with loads of spicy meat or crumbled tofu, my favorite vegan lunch to eat out. Rich and filling without being fattening, you can add cheese or guacamole if you’re feeling lean. The bright and just spicy enough pico de gallo is usually enough for me and I skip the extra fat calories.

At home I occasionally throw together similar meals, but generally leave it to the restaurants so we can enjoy the bowls there.  But when you eat all three meals together at home as we do (except when one of us travels, which is often), you begin to look for something that will be cooked up at either lunch or dinner, yet could provide leftovers for the next day so that you’re not always trying to create meals from scratch.  Today I spent the entire day going over the changes needed to be made to the book after the proof readers had their way with it.  I was buggy-eyed and sore-backed by the time I got out of my chair at 5.  (While it seems like it’s taking God’s own time, I’ve only been working on this book for a year and a half.  It’s just that I figured it’d be done just a bit more quickly.  Insert scream.)  In other words, I needed simple. Continue reading “Grilled Tuna Bowl Tonight–Rice and Beans for Lunch Tomorrow”

Ina Fridays — Main Courses — Lamb Shanks + Orzo

Ina Fridays — Main Courses — Lamb Shanks + Orzo

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(above– lamb shanks + orzo)

The first Friday of every month, I blog INA FRIDAYS (all Ina Garten recipes) with a great group of cooks.  Scroll down to check out the list of blogs participating, then read up and cook some Ina this weekend!  ♥♥♥

I’m a sucker for cold-weather meals.  I barely live through summer with its rosé wine and grilled suppers.  My heart was born to yearn for both red meat and red wine–perhaps because I’m a girl born and raised in Chicago where I breathed in the freezing wind off the lake and let it blow me all over the ice ponds where I cut my skating teeth. IMG_4787 (above:  my front yard yesterday)

So you can understand how I felt with a snow storm on the way, four meaty lamb shanks unthawing, and a big bottle of cab waiting on the table in the dining room.  My friend Mary Pat, my son Sean, and my husband Dave were all put on notice:

There will be lamb.  Be ready…

The day was planned around when the lamb needed to get into the oven.  A day when the temperature, for the most part, was a sweet -6 Fahrenheit… IMG_4774 (above and below:  young females in our neighborhood herd) Continue reading “Ina Fridays — Main Courses — Lamb Shanks + Orzo”

Baked Chili on Tortilla Chips for Super Bowl–GO BRONCOS!!

Baked Chili on Tortilla Chips for Super Bowl–GO BRONCOS!!

A replay of a favorite post, CHILI FRITO, for Super Bowl Sunday.  If you’d like the real-deal Chili Frito, substitute Fritos for the tortilla chips.

 GO BRONCOS!!!!

When Dave and I were in college, the cafeterias did their best to serve food that was wholesome and healthy (a salad bar appeared at student request), but that also made a teenager’s heart sing rather than sink.  As I spent a couple of years there cracking eggs–this is true–I know better than some.  Saturday nights were “steak nights,” and you seldom missed that meal, even if you had eaten all day long that day or were out at the lake at a kegger.   It was there I first heard the words London Broil or realized steaks could have sauces.  In the house where I grew up, good steak didn’t need sauce; it simply wasn’t done. (Groan.)  You wouldn’t ruin a gorgeous piece of midwest beef like that.  Looking back, of course the cafeteria steaks probably needed sauce.  The rarely-seen (ha) summer ribeye at home was fine with only a bit of garlic salt with pepper and a nice big crunchy salad right out of my Dad’s garden.  Mayonnaise was the dressing of choice.

This is Lincoln Hall.  I lived in Washington, it’s nearby exact twin. Continue reading “Baked Chili on Tortilla Chips for Super Bowl–GO BRONCOS!!”