Spaghetti “Bolognese”

I’ve been making an effort to cut back on our meat consumption but sometimes I really really want a meat-based dish. It was rainy today and looked cool (even though it was still around 85), but it got me in the mood for Spag Bol. One problem: no meat in the house. No meat? No problem…. maybe. So here’s my improvised vegetarian Spaghetti “Bolognese”.

1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 an onion chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
mushrooms (I probably used 1/4 of a pound? I’ve no idea) chopped fine
jar of sauce (I always have Barilla Marinara on hand)
spaghetti

Slice the tofu in half horizontally and place between paper towels to drain the excess moisture. I put my cast iron Dutch Oven on top to really squeeze out the water. Takes about 30 min or so.

Sprinkle tofu with salt and pepper. Put about a tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and put in the tofu. Fry on both sides till it’s a nice tannish brown, about 3min/side. Remove from pan.

Heat about a Tbsp of butter in the pan and saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms till softened, about 5min or so. Chop up the tofu and then add it back in to absorb some of the flavor for another 5min or so. Add in the spaghetti sauce.

Let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooks. When the pasta’s done, just spoon the sauce on top.

Things I would do differently next time: Marinate the tofu for a few minutes in olive oil and garlic for a flavor boost, and chop it more finely than I did today.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Kimchi burritos

Here it is… my round-eye bastardized version of my friend Jamie’s kimchi burritos.  Hers still put mine to absolute shame, though.  Mainly because it’s hard to find good quality asian ingredients here.  She lives in Irvine and has an insane amount of asian markets to choose from; korean markets, japanese markets, etc.  Here?  We have an asian market.  In Plano.  I used to go weekly but now it’s a 40 minute drive, so I only go once a month or so to stock up on a gallon of soy sauce, 10lb bag of botan rice, and kimchi (of which they only have one kind.  Jamie’s korean market has like 20.  bitch.)

ANYWAY.

Marinade (adapted from Jamiesan’s Spam Musubi marinade)

  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions diced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger shredded
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 serrano pepper minced (if you don’t like spicy don’t use this)
  • a pound or so meat cut into 1″ (bite sized) pieces.  I’ve been using boneless, skinless chicken thighs lately, but that’s because I’ve been avoiding red meat.  I do love short rib though.  Short rib is freaking good.
  1. In a medium sized bowl mix soy sauce, sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. add garlic, scallions, ginger, pepper, and sesame seed oil to the marinade and stir to mix together.
  3. either add the meat in the bowl and let marinate, or pour it all in a large ziploc bag to marinate.
  4. let marinate for a few hours.  I’ll let it go anywhere from 2-3 hours to overnight.
  5. stir fry until done (alternatively you could leave the meat whole and grill it; that’s pretty tasty too)

Burritos

Make some rice (I have a rice cooker so all I do is add water, rice, and push a button).

I have two ways of doing the burritos themselves: the full-on version and the quick and easy version.  The full-on version involves chopping up some kimchi, scallions, ginger, and garlic and then adding it to rice in a hot pan with some soy sauce and sesame oil and making a quick version of kimchi fried rice.  The easy version (when I’m lazy) is just to use the rice as is.  Slap some rice, meat, and kimchi on a tortilla.  Roll it up.  Eat it.  Then repeat because one is NEVER enough.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Fennel and Rosemary Crusted Rack of Lamb

I thought I’d do something special for Valentine’s day, but since my parents were here VDay plans were postponed till now.  And wow, it was worth the wait!  This was my first foray into lamb, and it was so easy and so good it won’t be my last.

Fennel and Rosemary Crusted Rack of Lamb

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 6  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (12-ounce) French-cut rack of lamb, trimmed (6 ribs)
  • Cooking spray
  • Rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 475°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub lamb evenly with garlic mixture; place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) to 160° (medium). Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
227 (49% from fat)
Fat:
12.3g (sat 5.5g,mono 5g,poly 0.5g)
Protein:
23.1g
Carbohydrate:
5.2g
Fiber:
1.6g
Cholesterol:
72mg
Iron:
2.8mg
Sodium:
354mg
Calcium:
68mg
Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 2:49 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Three Bean Chili

And while I’ve got the blog open, I may as well post another recipe I just tried tonight.  Once again, it’s from Cooking Light.  I’m loving all of the healthy recipes I’ve been making lately!

Grossman suggested doubling or even tripling this he loved it so much.  I’m thinking of making a triple batch and freezing part of it; I’ll report back on how that goes if/when I do it.  I also whipped up a quick batch of instant cornbread to go with this.  So good!

Three Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  prechopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  prechopped green bell pepper  (I don’t like green pepper so I skipped it)
  • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic  (I minced three cloves of garlic)
  • 3/4  cup  water
  • 2  tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)  (I used low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  tablespoon  yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro  (didn’t have it, didn’t add it)
  • 6  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream

Preparation

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water and next 9 ingredients (through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
180 (25% from fat)
Fat:
4.9g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g)
Protein:
8.4g
Carbohydrate:
29.5g
Fiber:
8.6g
Cholesterol:
5mg
Iron:
2.3mg
Sodium:
714mg
Calcium:
86mg
Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m getting a lot of use out of my Cooking Light magazines lately.  This one was dang tasty; so much so that I’ve now made it three times.  I plan on having some friends over for lunch soon and I just might have to make this for them.

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4  cups  uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 3  cups  chopped grilled chicken breast strips  (I used thighs)
  • 1 1/2  cups  trimmed arugula  (I used spinach)
  • 1  cup  grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4  cup  prechopped red onion
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh oregano
  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 6  tablespoons  (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese  (I thought I had it on hand but it turns out it was Feta.  Still tasted great though)

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
295 (23% from fat)
Fat:
7.7g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.8g,poly 1.1g)
Protein:
24.4g
Carbohydrate:
32.1g
Fiber:
2g
Cholesterol:
55mg
Iron:
2.4mg
Sodium:
788mg
Calcium:
40mg
Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Tofu

For as much as I love Asian food, I really don’t like tofu.  I keep trying it though, because I’m optimistic that one day I’ll get what Jamiesan and Grossman see in it.  Actually, I take that back.  There’s a noodle/tofu dish at a Thai place in LA that I absolutely loved, but that’s because the tofu didn’t feel like tofu (or at least what most tofus feel like).  See, it’s not really about the taste for me, it’s a texture thing.

Anyway, long story short, I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and thought I’d give it a whirl since we’re trying to be healthier.  As it turns out, this was really really good!  I used extra-firm tofu instead of firm, and I didn’t press it or marinate it for as long as the recipe requires because I’m lame and didn’t actually read the directions till I got home and then I was all “30 minutes?! what the hell?!” and “2 hours!!  Fuck!  Well, we’re gonna wing it”.  But even with my pressing of only 15 minutes and marinating for only 30, it turned out great!  It’s similar to the Vietnamese Noodles, but it has a slightly different flavor profile.  Also?  It’s spicy, and I only used about half of the recommended chili garlic sauce.

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Sauteed Tofu

Ingredients

  • 3/4  pound  firm water-packed tofu, drained  (I used extra-firm)
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice  (I used from a bottle because I’m lame)
  • 1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  chili garlic sauce  (I used about 2 tsp.)
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger (hello, from a jar)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  tablespoon  peanut oil (I used olive oil.  sue me.)
  • Noodles:
  • 3/4  pound  uncooked rice vermicelli
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lime juice
  • 3  tablespoons  chili garlic sauce (I used about half that)
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  peanut oil (olive again)
  • 1  tablespoon  Thai fish sauce
  • 2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper  (I just used a few sprinkles)
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 2  cups  thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1  cup  shredded carrot
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt

Preparation

1. To prepare tofu, cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels; top with a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove tofu from paper towels; cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Combine tofu, 2 tablespoons juice, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate at room temperature 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat; heat 30 seconds. Remove tofu from bag; discard marinade. Add tofu to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until crisp, carefully turning to brown all sides. Remove from heat.

3. To prepare noodles, while tofu marinates, place vermicelli in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well. Set noodles aside.

4. To prepare dressing, combine 1/4 cup juice and next 8 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon red pepper), stirring with a whisk.

5. Combine vermicelli, lettuce, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss well to combine. Top with tofu.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
336 (26% from fat)
Fat:
9.8g (sat 1.5g,mono 5g,poly 2.8g)
Protein:
10.3g
Carbohydrate:
57.2g
Fiber:
2.4g
Cholesterol:
0.0mg
Iron:
2.5mg
Sodium:
794mg
Calcium:
132mg

As a side note, I prepare my noodles differently.  I boil them for 2-3 minutes and then rinse them for a couple of minutes with cold water.  I’ve tried the “put them in a bowl w/ boiling water” thing, and I think that they kind of turn out gummy.  Just my own preference though.

Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,