Archive for ‘Comfort Food’

April 29, 2011

Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Kicked Up A Notch!

Allright, I admit… not much green happening here. BUT, to my defense, there’s got to be at least a million mushrooms in that sandwich! AND I did eat a whole yellow tomato as a side dish. So I think this qualifies as being healthy!

You see, I was really in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich but I needed to find a way to make it somewhat healthy. Not that whole grain bread and cheese alone is entirely bad for you, but let’s just say it lacks a little bit in the nutrients department! So I decided I would add some veggies. My fridge being almost empty, I didn’t have that much to choose from: Mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. Let’s just say mushrooms became the obvious choice.

I was going to also add the tomatoes, but I thought that my sandwich was still lacking something very important: protein! Then it hit me. Why not make a very thin egg white omelet, then put my mushrooms and cheese in the middle, fold the edges of my omelet to make it into a  neat little pocket, put that pocket between two slices of bread and then grill the resulting sandwich to melt the cheese! BRILLIANT! Suddenly, poor missis tomato didn’t seem like she belonged anymore, so I had her as a side dish instead.

Man, that sandwich was good! I think this one will become a classic lunch for week-end days… with endless variations on the subject, of course!

The ingredients that went into that one go as follows:

  • 2 slices 12 grain bread
  • About ½ tbsp butter
  • 50g low fat mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 125g sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ egg whites
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown the mushrooms in a skillet over medium-high heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the egg whites into a very thin omelet in a large non-stick pan (mine is 30cm) Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When omelet is cooked, pile the mushrooms in the center. Add grated cheese.
  4. Fold the edges over the mushrooms and cheese to form a square pocket, about the same size as your slices of bread.
  5. Spread a very thin layer of butter on each slice of bread. Put one slice buttered slice down in your non-stick pan and carefully place your omelette on top of it. Cover with the second slice of bread.
  6. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until bread is nice and brown, then flip and cook for an extra 2-3 minutes.
  7. Cut in half and watch cheese ooze! (be careful not to overdo that last step… you want to enjoy your sandwich while it’s still hot!)

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April 25, 2011

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s one of those dishes that I used to always go back for seconds. I just couldn’t help it. And even now that I have pretty much succeeded at eliminating this bad habit, Sheperd’s Pie would still be one of the dishes that I have a really hard time resisting. It’s like I can always hear it calling me… even after my tummy is full…

This vegetarian version is no exception. It’s just as good as the real thing… if not better|

Ingredients
(serves 4-6)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1½ cup Du Puy Lentils
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1½ tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large can (16oz) diced tomato
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup low fat sourcream
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cook the onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne in a skillet over medium high heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add lentils, stir to coat.
  3. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, parsley and 2 cups water. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes, adding more water as necessary, until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed but mixture is still moist.
  4. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in salted boiling water until they are really tender. Drain and return to pot. Add sour cream and milk, salt and pepper to taste. Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Cook frozen corn according to package instructions.
  6. Transfer lentils to a baking dish, top with corn and mashed potatoes.
  7. Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until it starts to bubble and the top turns golden brown.

April 18, 2011

Squash Coconut and Wild Rice Curry

The weather has been so crappy this week-end. Depressingly crappy. It was awfully cold and windy, plus we got rain, hail, snow and everything in between.

I went out for my first run on Saturday and it was so cold, I thought I was going to pass out. Seriously, I had a harder time dealing with the cold than I did with the fact that I was running and my heart was pacing like a maniac and I was totally out of breath. What I wouldn’t have given for a good warm hat and a pair of gloves.

That being said, I’m still fairly happy with my first run of the year. I thought I would go easy on myself and do only 4 km, which I expected would take me approximately 30 minutes. Well, I did it in 25:32! Not bad, not bad.

Now if only it could get warmer out. I’d much rather run on a hot and humid summer day than on a cold and extremely windy and humid day of what seemed like winter!

Mind you, it was the perfect kind of weather for my squash curry inspiration. That one turned out absolutely fantastic! I am not a big fan of “Indian” tasting dishes. Let’s just say curry, turmeric and the likes aren’t spices that you’ll see me use often. But they brought so much flavour to that recipe, without being overly present. I’m glad I decided to add them. The taste of the coconut milk was very subtle and delicate but contributed extensively to bringing all the flavours together, while the hazelnuts added a nice crunch, a lot of depth and, well, an extremely pleasing nutty flavour.

The recipe makes a huge pot, enough for 5 or 6 hungry people. Since there were only 2 of us eating, I have lots of leftover, which means I get to have some again later this week, or maybe even tonight!

And it will probably taste even better now that the flavours have marinated for a while…

YUM! Can’t wait!

Ingredients
(serves 5-6)

  • 1 small turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  •  75g roasted hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Put wild rice, salt and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix liquid honey through black pepper until well combined. Brush the inside of the acorn squash with this mixture and put the halves flesh side down in a baking dish with about ¼ cup of water at the bottom.
  • Add butternut squash and turnip to the rest of the spice mixture and toss to coat evenly.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Add turnip and butternut squash and spread to form a single layer; drizzle a little bit more olive oil over the veggies and cook in the oven until nice and golden, about 30-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  • When squash is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the onion in a large saucepan over medium high heat, until slightly coloured. Add garlic and season with a dash of salt and pepper. To this, add the flesh of the acorn squash and 2 cups water. Bring to boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Purée this mixture in the food processor and return to saucepan (or use a hand blender); add coconut milk, cooked turnip and butternut squash, roasted hazelnuts and cooked wild rice.
  • Stir to combine and ladle into serving bowls.
  • Serve piping hot with whole wheat pita breads