Monthly Archives: August 2008

Quick But Yummy Breakfast

We had an incredible storm the other night here in Phoenix, and we were without power for about 15 hours. I know this photo doesn’t do the storm much justice. Daughter took it as we sat on the patio watching the storm pass over. I was afraid to open the fridge or freezer for fear of thawing everything out, and we ended up eating out as much as possible. I suppose we were lucky since some people are still without power and there were downed trees in their yard, or powerlines went down like dominoes. We didn’t have any water damage, or wind, just the lack of power that made it pretty uncomfortable to sleep. As my sister awaits Gustov in New Orleans, I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

Now that the power is back on and the plants are drying out, I’m starved. I couldn’t decide what to eat for breakfast this morning, and didn’t want to pull out pans and such. And even though I just love my old standby… Rice Chex with rice milk, I just wasn’t in the mood.

I looked in the fridge and viola! breakfast was there. Just a little bit of both Fontina and goat cheese left over from a quiche for book club, and one Roma tomato. I just bought a loaf of GF sandwich bread from Gluten Free Creations, a local GF bakery.

I toasted the bread, placed sliced fontina on each slice (just enough for both left, yipee) and a little goat cheese. Putting the cheese immediately on the toasted bread lets it melt just so slightly, but not completely. Then top with slices of tomato. I added a little Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and there you have it. The Fontina and goat cheese give a great, salty texture and the tomato had a ripe, fruity flavor. I grabbed a few fresh basil leaves from the bush in the back yard, which added to the already wonderful flavors. The bread was toasted just enough to give a great crunch. Yum… what a great way to start the day.

BTW, what did Daughter eat, you may be asking? A chewy, yummy bagel from Einstein’s with cream cheese. She loves to torture me with things I can no longer enjoy, but this time I know mine was much better and I didn’t even want the bagel. Things are looking up!


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Filed under bread, breakfast, cheese, gluten free

Fridge Fried Rice

Here’s a quick idea for a dinner on the fly. The other night Daughter and I were hungry, and didn’t want to run to the store for anything. We decided to find something in the fridge. Half of a yellow squash, half of a sweet onion, and half of a tub of mushrooms. We found some frozen Jasmine rice in the freezer and of course had a few eggs in the fridge. Veggie fried rice it is!

This one was simple…chop everything up, saute in a little olive oil and garlic. Then when they were all cooked, add the rice (enough to fill the saute pan) and mix. Cook for a moment, then add some veggie broth. Let this simmer slowly till the broth is absorbed by the rice. Finally, add a little GF tamari and a scrambled egg chopped into little pieces (beautiful daughter did a great job with these. We like them well done so they don’t fall apart.)

Serve with a salad and you’ve got a great dinner. If I had tofu in the fridge, which I usually do, I would have tossed that in also to add some protein. But, since I didn’t, we just went with the fridge cleanout. Anything will do really, and it felt good to eat everything left in the bin before filling it up again at the farmer’s market on Wednesday.


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Filed under Asian, gluten free, rice, vegetarian

Confetti Pasta

While watching TV awhile ago, I saw a cooking show using lentils and pasta. Nice idea. I looked around and realized that I had bought some yellow lentils the other day, I just didn’t have a plan for them. Now I did.

This dish came from part inspiration and part TV cooking show. Of course, it’s GF, as always. But these days I’m trying to use more ingredients that are good for you with protein, vitamins, etc. I think it’s important to try and eat as healthy as possible these days, why not give your body a boost? I looked in the fridge and came up with a plan, pasta with lentils, tomatoes, onions and greens. Not only would this be good for you, but it had to be tasty as well with all these good things.

One thing I learned from my friend Linda many years ago was to use bagged salad for other things. She made a wonderful pasta dish using just caramelized onions, leeks and a bag of mixed greens for salad. They add a great texture and flavor. And it’s a quick thing to add to any pasta dish for a bit of color and pizazz.

The name Confetti Pasta came from my husband, who remarked how beautiful it was. He then ate a bowl of it and said it was the best thing I’d cooked for him. He gave it a 9 because, as he explained, if he gave it a 10 I would get a big head. Isn’t he precious?

I love this dish because it’s so beautiful, colorful and inviting. Of course, as always, feel free to improvise with anything else you have in the house. Add any veggies you want. It’s already a rainbow of colors, adding zucchini or eggplant would just add to the colors, or even sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.

Confetti Pasta

1 bag TJ’s brown rice penne
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch of greens, chopped. I use 1/2 a bag of baby greens with arugula, spinach, etc.
3/4 cup yellow lentils
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped basil
1/2 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cup water

1. Start water to boil for pasta. When water boils, cook as directed. Be careful with the penne, it tends to stick together when you first put it in the water. Make sure to salt the water well and stir for the first minute or so. I also add some olive oil to the water to make it less sticky.

2. Add lentils to water and broth in a separate pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness at 20 minutes and decide if you need more time. Also, keep some water handy in case you need to add more as the lentils cook.

3. Heat about 2 Tbs olive oil in a large (very large) skillet. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sweat (covered) for about 15 minutes, then cook uncovered over low heat for another 15 minutes until they begin to carmelize.

4. Add chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, basil and salt and pepper to onions. Let these cook over low heat while you wait for the pasta and lentils to finish.

5. Drain lentils and pour into onion, tomato mixture. Toss gently, careful not to break the lentils.

6. Drain pasta just at al dente. Rinse quickly with cold water (I find this keeps the GF pasta from getting mushy). Add pasta to pan with veggies and mix. Pan is getting full now, so mix slowly.

7. Finally, turn off the heat and throw the greens on top and mix gently. The heat from the pasta and veggies will wilt the greens just right.

8. Serve with shredded Romano cheese and red pepper flakes.


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Filed under gluten free, lentils, pasta, vegetarian

Hummus–simple and yummy!

I’ve been buying hummus from Trader Joe’s for years. If I’m really craving it and don’t want to make the drive, I buy it at Safeway. But the other day, I took a look at the ingredients and just about choked… Why is there high fructose corn syrup in hummus? What’s the purpose? Also, there were so many preservatives and extras I just didn’t want.

That made me think–what the heck, I can cook. How hard can hummus be? Just put chickpeas in a processor, right? Believe it or not, it really is just about that simple. There are more ingredients of course, but if you make it yourself, it’s all natural and you can add or reduce anything you want. My first try, I just made your average hummus with chickpeas, garlic, salt and tahini (ground sesame seed paste). It was good.

Today, I decided to be creative. I used 1/2 chickpeas and 1/2 white beans. Yum! I made two different kinds, since I was now a seasoned pro at making hummus. The first one was a roasted red pepper hummus, which just meant I took a roasted red pepper out of the jar and added it to the hummus. Easy. I suppose you can roast your own pepper over the stove, then sweat it for a few moments and peel off the skin. But I always have a jar of roasted peppers in the fridge just in case I’m in a hurry.

The second one was more simple, with just a hint of cayenne and garlic. Wow. I ate these for lunch with a ton of carrot sticks and it was great. I know that may sound like an anemic lunch to some, but the hummus is filling and the carrots are crunchy and good. It filled me up and I felt as if I were eating healthfully, which I was.

Basic Yummy Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can white beans, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 roasted red pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne

If you have a large processor, add all ingredients except for the red pepper and cayenne. Add the olive oil slowly, you may need a little more or less, depending on the consistency that you like. You can also taste and add more salt if you like at this point. Keep it pretty thick though, since adding the pepper will add more liquid.

Once everything is blended smoothly, take out half of the mixture and stir in the cayenne. This one is done.

With the half that is still in the processor, just add the roasted pepper and blend until it’s incorporated in the hummus.

Serve with fresh veggies, gf crackers (glutino crackers are quite good), gf bread or even on grilled veggies or in lettuce wraps with crisp veggies.

Next I’ll try some roasted eggplant for another of my favorites. The great thing about this is you can make it any way you want, or add anything you want.

My tiny processor. I think it’s just for little jobs, but I don’t have a big one. I think it may be time to splurge on the big one, especially since my blender just went out of business. But this is cute, isn’t it? And it gets the job done.

Try this, it doesn’t get any easier. Everything goes in the processor, blend and your done. Now if you’re like me and you only have this tiny processor, you have to do it in batches. And even that wasn’t too bad. I did it all in batches until I had all of it blended, then added the roasted pepper to half the mixture. It took longer to peel and cut the carrots than it did to make the hummus. But if you have a full-size processor, it’s even quicker.


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Filed under beans, gluten free, hummus, vegetarian