Thursday, February 24, 2011

Easy and delicious roasted vegetable & chickpea casserole

I just made this recipe this week, and am currently heating up some leftovers. It is so delicious, and very simple, so I thought I'd share.
It's made up of roasted 'summer' veggies, according to the recipe name, but here in Turkey, these are 'all year' vegetables, so hopefully you can find them too.
Since it's from the BBC Good Food website, I'm going to briefly translate it into 'American English' just to avoid any confusion that will keep you from trying this yummy dish. (I've also added the modifications that I made to the recipe but you can find the original here).

1 eggplant, cut into thick fingers
3 zucchini, thickly sliced
2 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped into chuncks
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds (although ground coriander will also do, I imagine)
1 14oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 14oz cans of chopped tomatoes
4-5 Tbsp olive oil
a small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

So, it's really easy. Preheat the oven to 4oo degrees F. Chop up all the vegetables, put them in a big oven proof dish or baking tin (if you've got one that can go on the stove and in the oven, use that), toss in olive oil, add the coriander seeds, some salt and pepper. Put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. When I cooked mine, I think it took a bit longer because my potato chunks were a bit too big, but roasted vegetables aren't an exact science, so you don't have to be too precise. When everything is soft enough to eat, it's ready.

Then put the dish on the stove, over low heat, add the tomatoes and chickpeas/garbanzos. Bring it to a gentle simmer and stir gently. When it's done, sprinkle on the chopped cilantro (I left the cilantro out because it's pretty tough to find in Istanbul) and serve with olive oil and crusty bread.

I actually made the meal one night and we ate it the next. I read from some comments that it was better the second night after letting the flavours mingle together. I reheated it in the oven and when it was just about done, added a sprinkling of feta cheese, which added a lovely flavour to it.

The recipe also suggested a meaty version. If you have a carnivore in the family, you can start to roast a chicken for 30 minutes, take it out of the roasting dish, put in all the vegetables above, nestle the chicken in the middle and continue roasting as per the recipe. Sounds pretty good. But trust me, the vegetarian version is delicious as it is. And it will make your kitchen smell amazing!

Mustard in Macaroni?

 My husband actually found this recipe online and asked me to make it! I never thought about a condiment having a website with recipes. At first I was very hesitant to put mustard in my macaroni and cheese (especially since i'm not a mustard fan) but it actually turned out really well. I'm making it again tomorrow night when we have friends over for dinner. GO TRY IT!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

HIII! First off I want to thank you for inviting me to contribute to your blog. I absolutely LOVE food and everything about it. My name is Brandi Marchbank and I met Laura in college. We lived on the same floor our freshman year and I think she's an absolutely delightful person!
Ever since I had my daughter 8 months ago I have been trying to lose the baby weight so I could fit back into my clothes! It's been super hard because I used to be able to eat what I wanted when I wanted. That came to a screaching HALT post-baby. In January my husband and I started eating healthy and working out. A few weeks in we got tired of the fish, chicken and rice that became routine on the dinner menu. This made me reach out and start searching for delicious, fast, and easy weight watching recipes. 
I stumbled upon this wonderful blog full of easy weight watcher recipes. Most recipes you find online these days say they are "easy" recipes, but are chock full of crazy ingredients you've never heard of let alone find in a grocery store! I decided to make this next week a weight watchers week in our house starting with tonight. We had the spinach and ricotta lasagna rolls. My husband's first reaction: "there isn't any meat in this?" Typical male response.

For those of you who know me, you know I don't eat very many vegetables. I have been trying to change that because Adalyn learns by example so I think it's high time I start leading.

Here's the recipe:

  • 9 Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 15 oz. Ricotta cheese, fat free
  • 30 oz. Tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
  • 9 oz spinach, thawed and drained
  • Salt and pepper
I tweaked her recipe just a tad! First thaw a 9 oz box of frozen spinach and strain it in a kitchen towel. You can use cheese cloth if you have it. Then mix together the spinach, ricotta, parm, salt, pepper and egg in a bowl. After cooking the noodles, use parchment paper as a working surface and spoon the ricotta mixture onto each noodle. In a 9x13 baking dish spread half the tomato sauce. Roll each noodle and place into sauce. The recipe calls for 9 noodles, however, I only used 8 in the dish. This worked out great because one of the noodles broke in pieces during the cooking process so it was wonderful to have a back up!

Once you have rolled all noodles, pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top and add a tsp. of shredded mozzerella to each roll. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes, covered.

YUM! I was able to do this while Adalyn was napping and it took no time at all. I popped it into the fridge and when Scott got home from work all I had to do was stick it in the oven.
I promise not to post anymore novels and hope you all have a blessed day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


We went over to a friends house for dinner last Saturday and she served the most amazing chicken. She said she got the recipe from her Land O'Lakes butter box so I went looking and found they have a lot of great stuff. Go look for yourself.