Category Archives: squash

Veggie-stuffed peppers

This is a quick and yummy meal that I thought up at the last minute. I was watching the Food Channel and saw someone making a traditional stuffed-pepper meal, meaning hamburger and bread crumbs. Uhm, not gonna work. But I remember loving my Mom’s stuffed peppers when I was a kid. So, with my daughter by my side, we came up with an even better, gluten-free, vegetarian version.

Quick and easy veggie-stuffed peppers

Veggie-stuffed Peppers

3 large peppers (I prefer red or orange since they are a little sweeter)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 chopped zucchini

1 large sweet onion, diced

olive oil/salt/pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen Jasmine rice (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Oregano, basil (dried)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place olive oil, onions and garlic in saute pan and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.

3. While onions are cooking, slice the top off the peppers. (when choosing peppers, try to pick out ones that will stand on their own.) Clean out the peppers and leave whole, placing them in a glass baking dish or pie pan so they stand on their own, then dice up the tops and reserve those for the filling.

4. Add peppers to the pan and saute till tender, then mushrooms to the pan and saute till brown.

5. Add zucchini last and cook for a few minutes until just tender.

6. Finally, add the rice, a bit more olive oil, oregano, basil, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is warm and mixed well.

7. Fill each pepper halfway, then add a pinch of cheese (a little less than 1/4 cup) in each one.

8. Finish filling peppers and mound it on top.

9. Top off each pepper with another pinch of cheese.

10. Bake for about 30 minutes, then let sit for about 10 minutes. (These are piping hot inside and so good you’ll burn your mouth for sure.)

These can also be made with brown rice (which I didn’t have at the time) and any veggies you have hanging around in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies, just saute with some rice and stuff a pepper. Enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, cooking, dinner, dinner parties, dinner party, egg-free, gluten free, mushrooms, quick meal, rice, squash, vegetarian, zucchini

A visit to True Food Kitchen

Wow. While perusing the Apple iPad at the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix today, Daughter and I decided to take in True Food Kitchen. The restaurant is a collaboration between Dr. Andrew Weil (the whole food guru we all know and love) and local restaurateur on fire – Sam Fox.

We started with a fresh strawberry lemonade for Daughter, and I began with the T-Eight, a lovely blend of fresh veggies including Tomato, Celery, Ginger, Cucumber, Golden Beet, Apple, Carrot & Parsley ($6). Yum, served over ice it was refreshing and cool. Although at $6, I’ll ask for less ice and more juice next time.

Daughter had the gluten-free baked ziti, which was essentially brown-rice pasta, tomato sauce, kale and a little Parmesan ($7). She was in heaven. The sauce was beautiful with mild spices and a sweet flavor. I gave the Spaghetti Squash Casserole a try. Lovely sauteed spaghetti squash mingled with tomatoes, onions and thinly sliced zucchini topped with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan, baked to perfection ($13). The mixture of tomatoes and onions gave this casserole a light, airy feel, although it was quite filling and I didn’t miss pasta in the least. I may try this at home, but I’m not sure if I can copy this one.

We were quite full after all this, even the kid’s meal was large enough to fill Daughter sufficiently. But of course, there was a flourless chocolate cake on the menu, topped with decadent vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce ($7). Who could resist? It was lovely, creamy, chocolaty and crunchy with cacao nibs on top.

The restaurant is clean, airy and light. Lots of wood and stainless steel makes it feel open, although the noise level can get up there. I noticed later that if we sat toward the back, we could have watched the food being prepared. Ask to sit farther toward the back and watch the action. We’ll definitely be back. Wanna’ join us?

Enjoy!

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Filed under gluten free, pasta, restaurants, squash, vegetarian

Savory Bean and Spinach Soup


While taking advantage of some free time, I sat back and read a magazine. This happened to be the April issue of Fitness magazine. In the very back, I spotted a recipe that looked beautiful. Those magazine photos make food look so good, don’t they? Well, I spotted this, realized I had it all in my kitchen already (and more) and jumped up to make dinner. Success…we had it for dinner, breakfast for two days and even gave some to a friend for dinner. It sounds like a lot, but with brown rice and beans, it’s filling and wonderful with a salad on the side.

Even though the recipe didn’t have cabbage or yellow squash in it, I had those left in the fridge…so in they went. It was great since the cabbage gave it a little crunch and the squash gave the soup a pretty yellow. Try it and add whatever you have in the fridge. I’m sure you’ve got most of it in the kitchen already.

Savory Bean and Spinach Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 cups chopped cabbage
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 package (about 2.5 cups) Trader Joe’s frozen pre-cooked brown rice (or 1/2 cup uncooked rice)
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed (or any white bean really)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
2 cups frozen spinach (or about 8 cups fresh spinach)
4 cups vegetable broth
Parmesan or Romano for garnish

This is all made in one pot, adding as you go.
1. Saute onion and garlic in large soup pot with 1-2 TBS of olive oil.
2. When onions are translucent, add cabbage, a pinch of salt and cook for another 5 minutes till cabbage is getting translucent.
3. Add chopped squash and saute another few minutes.
4. Add basil, parsley, a little more salt and pepper.
5. Add rice and mix well. If you’re using the frozen rice, it will reduce the heat so mix well and cover for a few minutes to bring the heat back up. If you’re using uncooked rice, just add it in and mix.
6. Add tomatoes, beans and spinach. Mix well and cover for a few moments to bring up the heat with frozen spinach and wilt fresh spinach.
7. Finally, add broth and enough water to cover by about 1 inch. If you’re using frozen or cooked rice, just simmer until everything is hot and blended–about 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re using uncooked rice, you’ll need to add more water and give it at least 40 minutes to an hour of simmering to cook the rice.

Serve with a garnish of shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!

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Filed under beans, cabbage, gluten free, rice, soup, squash

Crispy Tofu and Squash

While trying to limit carbs, I’m also trying to improve taste. That’s not easy being on a gluten-free, vegetarian, mostly dairy-free diet. Making that low carb can put a crimp in what’s left to eat. But I’m learning to adapt. Last night I decided to stir fry up some tofu and some beautiful baby zucchini from Trader Joe’s. Yum. My daughter decided she wanted fried rice, so we combined the two for a wonderful two-way dinner.

Using a little nutritional yeast is the key. It gives flavor and crispiness to the tofu. Don’t be afraid of it, I had never heard of it before last year and I was pretty nervous about trying it, but it’s really great. I found it in the bulk section of Whole Foods. You only need a small handful to last a long time.

Crispy Tofu and Squash
8 oz. Extra firm tofu
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
7 baby zucchini
1 yellow squash, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1.5 cups Jasmine rice
splash of wheat-free tamari
splash of sesame oil

Take about one cup of cubed firm tofu, drained and pressed to get out most of the liquid. Let that sit and drain while cutting the baby zucchini and yellow squash in small pieces. Stir fry squash and zucchini in a little olive oil and wheat-free tamari. Add a few tablespoons of water to steam after a few moments, then let them brown for a moment.

Take out zucchini, add olive oil to the pan and add tofu (I like to add a little butter also, it helps to brown the tofu). Sprinkle tofu with about 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Stir fry until tofu gets crispy and browned on all sides. It doesn’t take long, shake the pan often to loosen tofu and brown it.

When tofu is done, add zucchini to the pan. At this point, I add a little garlic and salt and I’m good to go. Daughter wanted her rice, so to the pan (after I had taken my half out) we added two scrambled egg whites (or whole eggs) cooked earlier and broken into small pieces and one and a half cups of jasmine rice, precooked (Trader Joe’s). Stir fry this for a few moments, adding a little more tamari and a small splash of sesame oil.

Tofu with added rice and eggs

Either way, it’s beautiful. Without the rice, this is a high-protein meal with low carbs. You can also add the eggs in with the tofu and zucchini for an even bigger protein boost. With the rice, it’s a great, filling meal with lots of protein and veggies.

Enjoy!

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Filed under dairy free, gluten free, low carb, rice, squash, tofu, zucchini