Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vegetable Fajitas with Mexican Rice and Homemade Salsa

This tasted very similar to the restaurant version!  The rice recipe made a lot, so there is enough for leftovers.  This took a while to make, but if I were to make it again, I would try to prepare the rice and salsa ahead of time to save a little time on dinner night.  It was really  good, though, so the effort was worth it.  Pair with a garden salad for a complete meal. 

For the fajitas:
Flour tortillas, fajita sized
1 can refried black beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup salsa (see recipe below)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the Mexican rice:
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium white onion, diced
2-3 medium jalapenos, minced
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1/3 cup oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime

For the salsa:
2, 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed and skin removed
salt to taste

For the fajitas:
In a small saucepan, heat refried black beans over medium heat, thinning with water as needed until smooth.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, red and green peppers, and garlic.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in squash, salsa, salt and cumin.  Cover and cook 5 more minutes.  

For the Mexican rice:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  
Place onion and tomato in blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a measuring cup - it should measure 2 cups.  If there is a slight discrepancy, add water to make up the difference.  
Finely chop jalapenos and set aside.
Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear - about 1.5 minutes.  This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick together.
Heat oil in a medium/large oven-safe sauce pan.  Drop a few grains of rice into the heated oil.  If they sizzle then the oils is hot enough.  Add the rice and fry, stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and jalapenos.  Cook stirring constantly for ~1.5 minutes.  
Stir in broth, pureed tomato mixture, tomato paste, and salt.  Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Cover pan and transfer to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30-35 minutes.  Stir well after 15 minutes.  
Stir in cilantro and lime juice to taste.

For the salsa:
Pour 1 can of tomatoes into a blender, add the jalapeno, onion, cilantro leaves, lime juice, garlic, and salt.  Blend until fairly smooth.  Pour in second can of tomatoes and blend briefly.  Adjust seasonings to taste by adding more lime juice and salt.  Let salsa rest for 1/2 before serving to allow flavors to blend.

  • Light and Fluffy Zucchini Fritters with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

    Greek Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki

    MMM...such a light and satisfying summer meal!  The fresh dill really stands out in this recipe.  Pair with a tossed green salad for a complete meal.

    2 cups zucchini, grated and squeezed dry (I layered paper towels around the grated zucchini to squeeze dry)
    1 handfull of fresh herbs, chopped (such as parsley, dill, or mint - I used parsley and dill)
    2 green onions, chopped
    1/4 cup feta, crumbled
    1 egg
    2 Tbsp oil

    Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce: 
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt
    1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    Mix zucchini, herbs, onions, feta, egg, and salt and pepper together in a bowl.  Heat oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan.  Spoon ~1/3 cup of the zucchini mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, ~4 minutes per side.

    For the dipping sauce, mix all ingredients together and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

    Summertime Baked Ziti

    8 oz uncooked ziti
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    2 c chopped yellow squash
    1 c chopped zucchini
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 can diced tomatoes, drained
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or Daiya dairy free cheese)
    2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
    2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
    3/4 tsp salt, divided
    14 oz fat free ricotta cheese (or Tofu Ricotta)
    1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

    Cook pasta according to package directions.
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add squash, zucchini and onion.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and garlic.  Saute 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta. mozzarella, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt.  
    In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg (if using egg...I have omitted egg in the past and it has turned out fine).  Stir into pasta mixture.
    Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  Spread mixture into baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  

    Pair with a tossed garden salad for a complete meal.

    Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

    When I first saw this recipe I wasn't sure that this sandwich would be all that spectacular.  Boy was I wrong!  It is so simple, yet there is so much flavor and it is so filling.  I will be keeping this sandwich as a regular recipe in our house from here on out!  Please give it a try...your taste buds will be happy you did!  I paired this with a pasta salad and fresh fruit for a yummy summer meal.

    1 Japanese eggplant, sliced at an angle in 1/2 inch slices (I chose to omit the eggplant and add extra zucchini because I am not a big eggplant fan, so that is another option if you prefer).
    1 small zucchini, sliced at an angle in 1/2 inch slices
    1 red pepper, cut into quarters lengthwise
    1 red onion, quartered
    2 portabello mushroom caps, sliced into 3-4 pieces
    Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing (optional)
    8 slices crusty Italian bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
    4 pieces red leaf lettuce
    1 tomato, sliced

    Herbed Mayo:
    3/4 cup Vegenaise (dairy and egg-free mayonnaise alternative)
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    a few drops of hot sauce
    1 garlic clove, crushed and skin removed
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley
    2 Tbsp oregano
    (or other available seasonable fresh herbs)

    If you choose, you can marinate the mushrooms in balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing in a ziploc bag for 10-15 minutes.  
    For remaining vegetables, using a pastry brush or oil mister, lightly coat vegetables with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place vegetables on a hot grill and cook until tender and remove when done.  Once vegetables are done, lightly mist bread with olive oil and place on the grill until lightly toasted.
    Make mayonnaise by mixing all ingredients together.  
    To assemble, coat both sides of the bread with a thin coating of the herbed mayo.  Layer with veggies, top with lettuce and tomato.  


    Wonderfully quick and easy weeknight meal.  Sometimes, I try to jazz things up by using a recipe for mexican rice or a recipe for a bean sauce, but this is the basic recipe that provides the backbones for the dish.  It still tastes good by just using brown rice and plain black or pinto beans and it is super fast that way, too.  Anyway you fix it, this is a staple recipe for your household.

    Corn chips or Fritos
    brown rice (or you can use a mexican or spanish rice recipe here)
    Black, pinto, or kidney beans (or you can use a recipe for a bean sauce here)
    Shredded lettuce
    Tomatoes, diced
    Onions, diced
    Sour cream (optional)
    Ranch Dressing (optional)
    shredded cheddar (optional)

    Start by making a base from crumbled corn chips or Fritos.  Top with rice, beans and veggies.  Top the dish off with salsa, guacamole, and ranch dressing.  Set ingredients out buffet style for a quick and easy dinner - kids will love creating their own masterpiece.

    Greek Pitzas

    This is a quick, go-to meal that pleases the entire family.  We especially enjoy it in the summer with the wonderful, fresh produce!  Pair with a side salad for a healthy and delicious meal.

    Flat bread, Pita Bread, or Naan
    Roasted red pepper hummus
    A handfull of each of the following:
    cherry tomatoes
    diced red onion
    sliced zucchini
    kalamata olives
    sliced sweet bell peppers
    feta cheese (optional)
    chopped fresh herbs (I like italian parsley, rosemary, and oregano)

    Heat oven to 400 degrees.  
    Spread hummus atop flatbread.  Top with ingredients and place in oven for 7-10 minutes until crust is lightly browned. 

    Greek Bean Spread

    Gigantes plaki
    This is a simple recipe for a light and healthy spring/summer meal.  You can serve this spread atop toasted sourdough bread or flat bread.  Or, you can serve this alone as a side dish to compliment your main dish.

    1 can butter beans, rinsed
    3+ Tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 Tbsp tomato puree
    2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    2+ Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes until softened but not browned.  Add tomato puree and cook for 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients except beans and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Season generously and then stir in beans.
    Spray an oven-safe baking dish with non-stick spray.  Add mixture from skillet to baking dish and bake for ~45 minutes, uncovered and without stirring.  The beans will absorb the flavors and the sauce will thicken.  Allow to cool and drizzle with a little bit more olive oil and scatter top with chopped parsley.

    Serve atop toasted sourdough bread or flat bread and pair with a tossed salad for a complete meal.

    Recipe taken from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12229/images/12229_MEDIUM.jpg 

    Vegetable Lasagna

    This is a wonderfully light and easy recipe!  No one will miss the meat or dairy, plus it is an easy way to disguise some veggies past your unsuspecting children.  It has become a family staple in our home.

    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup zucchini, diced
    8 oz mushrooms, sliced
    2, 26 oz jars spaghetti sauce (preferably low sodium) or 6 cups homemade sauce
    12 oven ready lasagna noodles (these are the kind that you don't have to boil first)
    1 recipe Tofu Ricotta
    Daiya brand dairy-free shredded mozzarella style cheese (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, peppers and saute until lightly softened.
    Add mushrooms and zucchini.  Saute for another 2-3 minuites.  Stir in spaghetti sauce.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (if you have fresh herbs, add them here for a wonderful, fragrant taste).
    In a medium bowl, prepare Tofu Ricotta per recipe instructions.
    Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
    Spoon ~3/4 cup of the vegetable and sauce mixture into the bottom of pan.  Top with 4 lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping if necessary.  Top with 1/2 of the Tofu Ricotta mixture and an additional 1/3 of the vegetable sauce mixture.  Top with 4 more lasagna noodles, the remaining ricotta, and the last 1/3 of the vegetable sauce mixture.  If desired, sprinkle the top with Daiya dairy-free cheese.  
    Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

    Pair with a garden salad and a piece of whole wheat garlic toast for a complete meal.