Archive for main dishes

Clam Pasta (aka the Best Friend Maker)

This is for Katarina. I’m her best friend because of this dish, which is awesome. She even kissed me in an effort to convince me to come to her house and make more for her, but in lieu of that, I shall share the recipe.

I often bring this to the pot luck dinners we have at my parish on Wednesday nights during Lent, after the Presanctified Liturgy. People are constantly asking me how to make it, and I have to admit: it comes from a can.

Seriously, all you need is a can of Progresso’s White Clam Sauce, poured over linguine–but last night I spiced it up a little bit and I liked it even better that way, and the additions provided some extra nutrition. Here’s what you need:

2 cans Progresso White Clam Sauce*
1 can (10 oz.) baby clams, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
Oil
1 package (16 oz.) linguine

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and cook the garlic for a minute or so. Then add the spinach, mushrooms, and baby clams. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and the spinach wilted. Add the clam sauce, simmer for a few minutes, and serve over linguine. (For the pot luck, I just let it sit in a crock pot on the “warm” setting until it’s time to eat.)

By the way, I usually just get the clam sauce from Kroger or Walmart, but I found a deal at Amazon that is a lot better. Check it out.

Thanks, Progresso!

* I’ve tried another brand, DeLallo, but I didn’t like it nearly as much.

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Mujaddara

Mujaddara is one of my favorite things. I love to make it during the fasts because everyone in my family enjoys it, even the children, and it’s very easy, inexpensive, and one batch makes a whole lot! My godmother taught me how to make it a couple of years ago and I can never get it to turn out quite as delicious as hers, but it’s close. I am not sure how accurately I remembered what she taught me so maybe I am doing something different (I know she doesn’t use the pine nuts so there’s at least one variation), but whatever I’m doing, it’s working. Here is what I do.

2 cups rice
2 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils
4 sweet onions
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
olive oil
salt
pepper
toasted pine nuts (optional)

Put a large skillet on the stove and heat it up over medium heat. While heating, slice the onions, then add some oil to the pan and then the onions. Stir occasionally as they cook until they are soft (15-20 minutes?), and then turn the heat up to medium-high and stir frequently until they are caramelized to a nice deep brown. This should take about 20 or 30 minutes, I think. When they are done, add a splash of water to deglaze the pan.

While the onions are cooking, cook the rice and lentils. You can cook them according to package directions, but my preferred way for the rice is to cook it in the oven. Here is how I do it. Preheat oven to 350. Place the 2 cups of rice into an oven proof dish, about 2 quarts in size, and on the stovetop boil 2 3/4 cups of water along with a pinch of salt and a little oil. When it boils, pour it into the dish with the rice and cover the dish tightly with a double layer of foil. Bake in the oven until the water is absorbed and rice is tender; this should be 45 to 60 minutes. Remove and fluff with fork. For this recipe, put the 2 cardamom pods in with the rice as it bakes.

The lentils can simply be boiled on the stovetop until they are tender but not too mushy.

When all these things are cooked, mix the rice, drained lentils, and half the caramelized onion in a pot, along with about half a cup of water and a little olive oil, plus the spices, salt, and pepper, and stir and heat on the stove over medium heat until it’s all combined and smelling delicious.

Then place it all into a serving dish and top with the remaining caramelized onions and the pine nuts, if you’re using them. This is delicious served with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes drizzled in olive oil–or if it’s not a fast day, I like to have it with Greek yogurt.

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Quinoa and Spinach Soup

My friend Kris posted a great recipe in her blog. It offers a lot of what I love in this world: ease of assembly, spinach, red onions, and quinoa. I made a double batch of it tonight–yes, double, even though it was the first time I tried it, because I just had a hunch it was going to be a good one. And it is. And you have to try it, too. Thanks, Kris–this one’s a winner!

http://goodnessandgoodies.blogspot.com/2009/01/soup-glorious-soup.html

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Creamy Potato Soup

Most potato soup recipes call for milk and usually butter–and certainly if they have the word “creamy” in the title! But this one doesn’t need any animal products at all to be creamy and flavorful. I’ve adapted this from a recipe I got from Alissa Wilkinson. You’ll need:

4-6 gold potatoes (you could use another kind but I like these for their texture)
3 leeks, chopped (the white part, y’all!)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
6 c. water or broth
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a crock pot except for the kale and salt and pepper. Cook on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4. Then puree it all. An immersion blender works well for this purpose. Then add the kale. At this point, you could cook it in the crock pot for a while until the kale is done–or you could do what I did and dump it all into a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and serve with a crusty bread.

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Manhattan Clam Chowder

– Four 10-oz. cans of baby clams
– Four 14.5-oz. cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
– Four 14-5 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
– 6 carrots, chopped
– 2 stalks celery, diced
– 8 gold tomatoes, cubed
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 1 green bell pepper, chopped
– 1/4 cup clam juice
– 1/3 cup dry white wine
– 1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
– 1 tablespoon dried oregano
– 1 tablespoon dried basil
– 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
– 3 drops hot pepper sauce
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
– salt to taste
– ground black pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, clams, clam juice, wine, sauces, and herbs in a large pot. Simmer about 30 minutes. Add vegetables and simmer 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, or cook in a crock pot on low for 6 to 8  hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

The gold potatoes have a great texture with this soup. It’s good fresh, but better the next day. This recipe makes a ginormous batch! Yes, I know this is not vegan because of the clams, but it is fast friendly.

Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Manhattan-Style-Clam-Chowder/Detail.aspx

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Roasted cherry tomatoes and kale with cannellini beans

Roasted cherry tomatoes and kale with cannellini beans

Okay, here’s the deal: I roasted some kale in the morning. In the evening I made a variation of Rachael Ray’s sherry cherry tomatoes (I did it all on the stovetop and didn’t mess with the oven) and decided to toss in the leftover kale, along with some cannellini beans. The result, served over brown rice, was rather scrumptious. Rather than roasting the kale in advance, however, I think you could safely skip that step and just add fresh kale. You’ll need:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh kale
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or dry sherry wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, and onions; cook for two or three minutes and then add the tomatoes, tossing them with the oil. Then add the sherry, sugar, pepper flakes, and salt. Toss again and cook for about 15 minutes. Then add the kale and beans and cook for another five minutes or so, or until the tomatoes sort of collapse. Serve over pasta or rice or as a side dish.

Here’s the original recipe from Rachael Ray: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sherry-cherry-tomatoes-recipe/index.html

ETA: I used the leftovers the next day. I put them straight from the fridge onto sourdough bread with tuna and it was amazingly good. This is definitely a favorite! (I realize tuna is not vegan, but it is allowed on certain fast days.)

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Vegetable Curry Stew

1 sweet potato, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 green pepper, diced
1 med. onion, diced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 can – diced tomatoes (14 oz can), undrained
1 can – garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
3/4 cup – vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsps curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Saute the fresh vegetables in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender.

Serve on top of cooked brown rice.

Thanks to Melanie S. for the recipe!

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