Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

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Food Matters Project #33: Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage

After moving, we’re back cooking in the kitchen!  Can’t wait to tell you more about our new house, but this first post will be a Food Matters Project recipe.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Keely Marie.  She has hosted a Food Matters Project before, the Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables (her version; our version was the Vegetable & Bean Casserole).  This time around she has chosen Mark Bittman’s version of Rolled Cabbage.  Check out Keely Marie’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and also take a look what other participants made.

We’ve moved into our new house, but there are many boxes which are still unpacked.  Therefore, I was unable to find my copy of Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  As we have been searching for the pizza cutter and our wooden spoons, I made my own version of stuffed cabbage.

Stuffed Cabbage

Fortunately, thanks to my Polish heritage, I knew exactly what I wanted to put in these, and how I wanted to cook them.  This version is not like my Mom’s, or traditionally Polish- I’m saving that for another blog post.  Until then, enjoy these- they are very filling after a busy day of unpacking and organizing.

Stuffed Cabbage 2

Rice & Lamb Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffing
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled & grated
4 small turnips, peeled & grated
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Sauce
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 small turnips, peeled & chopped
2 32oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 head of green cabbage

To make the stuffing, cook the rice per package instructions.  Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic, carrots and turnips and cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, add in the ground lamb, and saute until the meat is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the stuffing to the bowl filled with rice, stir all of the ingredients together.

To make the sauce, mix together the onion, garlic, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  Then add the ingredients into a saucepan, over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and continue to simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Stir the sauce every couple of minutes.

As the meat mixture is cooling off, and the sauce is cooking, prepare the cabbage.  Cut out the stem from the inside of the cabbage.  Then peel off each cabbage leaf from the head.  Once you have all of your leaves, begin to boil a large pot of water.  Once there is a rolling boil, add 2 leaves into the pot at a time, and cook them for about 1-2 minutes.  Carefully remove the leaves from the water, transfer them to a colander, then rinse with cold water.  Repeat with the remaining leaves, gently squeezing out the excess water.

Finally, lay a cabbage leaf on the work surface, with the edge side facing you.  Then add in a couple of spoonfuls of the stuffing (rice, veggies, meat) into the middle of the leaf.  Next, fold the outside edges in, and roll away from you.  This technique should be very similar to rolling a burrito.  Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Place each of the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into an oven-proof dish.  Pour the tomato sauce over all of the cabbage rolls.  Then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Pull it out of the oven, and serve!

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

I hosted my Book Club at our house last week, there were 8 of us here to talk about The Corrections, and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.  Check out what else was on the Book Club menu!

As I mentioned, I was looking for “all-american” foods, but with a fun new twist.  How about Sloppy Joe’s?  A sloppy joe is an American dish which usually consists of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce (or ketchup) and additional seasonings.  It’s served on a bun, and tends to be very messy!

The origin of the sloppy joe sandwich is not definite.  Some say it started at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa when a cook, by the name of Joe, made this sandwich.  Others, believe it was first made at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida.  Most of us identify with the sauce that comes in a can: Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joes.

I did not want to serve my friends something out of a can, so instead I made my own sauce.  I added green bell peppers, garlic and some spices to give it a better flavor.  In addition, since not everyone in our Book Club eats meat- I decided to use the MorningStar Crumbles to make it vegetarian!  The texture was very similar to ground beef, and the sauce had the tomato flavors!

 

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Inspired from: Pinch My Salt

I was making these sloppy joe’s vegetarian, so I added the MorningStar Crumbles; but if you prefer to have a meat version, substitute 1 lb of ground beef.  Also, for a less spicy taste, omit the jalapeño.  This is something which can be made ahead (a day or two), allowing the flavors to blend together much better.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 12oz package of MorningStar Farms Meal Starter Crumbles
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 cup of water
hamburger buns

Heat up olive oil in a saucepan, then add the onion.  Sauté for about 4 minutes, until it’s translucent.  Then add the garlic, green bell pepper and jalapeño.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the meat, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook all of these ingredients for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to mix together.  Add in the tomatoes, stir them in well.  Finally, stir in tomato paste and water.  Make sure all of the ingredients are stirred well, and allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes.

I put out the sloppy joe mixture and buns separately, allowing everyone to serve themselves.

Corn & Black Bean Burger with a Fresh Carrot Salad

As I’ve mentioned (probably numerous times) we don’t have a grill here.  I like burgers.  There is something amazing about a fresh bun, tomato and an onion.  Although it’s unfortunate that we don’t have a grill, it is fantastic that it forces us to make different kinds of burgers.  There are so many to choose from, and there are different variations.  Some might not be very pretty to look at, but they are all full of flavor.

Now, when you think of a burger, the side that goes with it is usually fries.  Trying to be healthy, and take advantage of all of the fresh vegetables that are around, I try to find other options.  This was very colorful and light carrot salad, so perfect to go with a filling burger!

And remember, this is great for any friends that are vegetarians!

Corn & Black Bean Burger
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1-2 jalapeños, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp flaxseeds
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 cup of frozen corn, defrosted
2 tbsp olive oil
4-6 burger buns
4-6 slices of onion
4-6 tomato slices
1 avocado, sliced
burger condiments of your choice

Add the jalapeños and garlic to a food processor and mince finely.  Add 1 can of beans, cumin, salt, chili powder and ground pepper, pulse the processor some more until the mixture looks like a bean dip.

Transfer the bean mixture to a bowl, then add: flaxseeds, Panko breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, corn and the second can of beans.  Stir everything until it is well blended.  Make patties out of the mixture, we made 4 (very) large one’s.  I think 6 is actually the more appropriate size.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the burgers (we had 2 at a time) and fry for about 5 minutes on each side.

We served the burgers on a fresh bun, with onion slices, tomato slices avocado slices.  Feel free to add ketchup, mustard or other condiments.

Fresh Carrot Salad
Adapted from: So Good and Tasty

4-6 carrots, peeled and shaved
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cilantro, minced
3 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all of the ingredients, but the carrots.  Whisk together.  Then pour over the shaved carrots.  Toss well, and then put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Enjoy when chilled.

Zucchini Enchiladas

I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I was actually planning on putting this recipe up on Thursday (Cinco de Mayo), but unfortunately I was not eating Mexican that evening but at a work function.  It’s been a busy week!

We love Mexican food.  We (more like Sam, but I’m getting there) cannot find anything spicy enough in restaurants.  So, homemade is usually better since it is spicy enough.  In this recipe, we added the adobo chiles and jalapeños in the sauce, but feel free to omit them if super spicy is not your taste.

These are excellent vegetable enchiladas, I would have not thought to shred the zucchini before adding it to the dish.  But it gives it a meaty and soft texture, even though there is no meat in there.  Excellent idea!

We plan on making these again, but adding either shredded pork or chicken, we’ll make sure to share it with you!

Zucchini Enchiladas
Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Non-stick Cooking Spray
2 tbsp olive oil
7 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (optional or more if you want spicy)
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 zucchinis, sliced or grated
1 onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups Mexican-blend cheese
4 large tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat the over to 400°F degrees.  Spray a baking dish so the tortillas do not stick (appropriately sized dish to fit the tortillas).

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  Then add 3 chopped garlics and sauté.  After a minute add: chipotle chile, jalapeño, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Set aside until you are ready to pour over the enchiladas.

Either grate the zucchini with a grater or in a food processor.  In a saucepan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Once it’s heated, add 4 garlic cloves and onion and sauté.  Then add the zucchini, green onions, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp ground cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.  Mix well, until the cheese has melted in the mixture.

Divide the zucchini mixture between the 4 tortillas.  Roll each tortilla and place, seam side down, into the baking dish.  Once all of them have been arranged, pour the sauce over the tortillas.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish.  Bake until the cheese has melted, and enchilada sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

After plating, sprinkle chopped cilantro on each enchilada.