Monday, February 6, 2012

Recipe: Sauteed Vegetables with Lentil Sprouts

Here are the lentils I sprouted to use in my stirfry. You can see how to sprout lentils, here and buy lentils for sprouting here. Sprouted Lentils are a wonderful addition to stirfry, chili, or garden burgers. Put the lentil sprouts into the large frying pan/wok, along with ginger, garlic and 1/2 c. broth. I like to steam the lentils first so that they are nice and tender.

After the lentils have steam cooked for about 3-5 minutes, add the rest of your chopped/diced vegetables. Next I added some fresh, peeled and chopped water chestnuts. They were in the Asian pack from my co-op, Bountiful Baskets. Awesome!

Then, add the rest of your chopped/diced vegetables. I like to get a huge gallon sized bag of vegetables prepared in advance of the meal. Then, it is easy to add to the pan. Below, I have included Swiss Chard, snap peas, celery, pre-cooked green beans. This is about 6-8 cups of chopped/diced vegetables.

Here it is in the frying pan. I cook just until everything is tender, but not overdone. Stir and turn constantly. Add additional small amounts of broth during the cooking process so that it doesn't burn

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the completed dish. It was served with fish and brown rice.

How to Sprout Lentils

I decided to go ahead and sprout some lentils. I have several sprouters, but I'm especially fond of the Easysprout sprouter. It is truly the best manual sprouter on the market. Anyway, the nice thing about the Easysprout sprouter, is that it takes up so little space, and it is very easy to use.

Recipe for growing lentil sprouts. Decide how much to sprout. A good place to begin is 1/4-1/2 cup.
  1. Examine lentils for dirt or small rocks. Pick out anything that isn't a lentil and discard
  2. Rinse thoroughly. You can do this right in the Easysprout sprouter. Place lentils in the inner cup. Run water over the top and let it run through the inner cup.
  3. Place inner cup inside of outer cup, and fill with water. Have water come several inches above the lentils. Leave to soak for 12 hours. Overnight works great.
  4. Pull inner cup out and drain. Discard soak water. Great for watering your plants!
  5. Rinse every twelve hours. Continue to do this until the lentils are sprouted to your satisfaction.
Here are some pictures:

sprouted lentils 24 hours past soak

sprouted lentils 48 hours past soak

I like using the lentils at this point. I don't want them to form leaves. These are perfect for garden burgers, chili or stirfry. See my post on using sprouted lentils in stirfry here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chili with Sweet Potatoes

I decided that today would be a great day to make chili. There are lots of recipes out there that use canned pumpkin. However, I'm using canned sweet potatoes in the recipe, mainly because I need to use it up. Canned food does go bad. I try to rotate my food storage every year, especially the canned items. The great thing about chili is that it is so easy. I just get my crock pot out, and start dumping the canned items in. I do add diced onion, garlic and seasonings. Today I added some things from my freezer as well. Here is what I added. You can add cooked ground beef if desired. We're not big meat eaters, so this will work fine for us.

15 oz. can kidney beans (rinsed)
15 oz. can small white beans
2 c. pinto beans (from freezer)
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chili
1 large can sweet potatoes (rinsed)
2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. cooked whole grain cereal (from freezer)

It's cooking away on low. I'll make some cornbread in my cast iron frying pan and serve them with some cheese, chopped green onions and sour cream.

Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Refried Beans and Jalepeno Yogurt Dip

My new favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with my homemade "refried" beans. I put the refried in quotations because they are actually cooked in a crockpot or pressure cooker. You can find the recipe, here. You can leave the bacon out of the recipe, and it is still dynamite! Serve just those two items with sliced tomatoes or salsa, and you'll love it. However, my new favorite Costco item is Skotidakis Mild Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip. And no, I didn't get compensated to say that (I wish!). Two tablespoons of dip are 50 calories, and it is the perfect addition to this breakfast. I use it as a vegetable dip as well.
Homemade Refried Bean and Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip

I use one whole egg and two whites for the eggs for 100 calories, the beans are approximately 150 calories for a 1/2 c. and 2 tablespoons of yogurt dip is 50 calories. Tomato slices aren't worth counting. For just 300 calories, you are filled up until well past lunch time. Add an orange or other fruit to boost the vitamin level. If I had fresh sprouts that were ready, I would add those for negligible calories too. I've chopped up romaine lettuce and added that to the plate in the past.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eggplant Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe

My friend, Trish, created a similar recipe to this. We received eggplant in our Bountiful Baskets, but neither of us enjoy eggplant parmigiana. It was Trish's idea to roast the eggplant and puree it for a sauce. I thought it was such a good idea, I decided to try it out.. I think that cooked eggplant is the perfect starting point for a pasta sauce!

Begin by cutting off the ends of the eggplant (like I did, above), and then peel it. At this point, you can cut it up into 1-2" pieces.

Put it in a large skillet with about an inch or so of salted water. Boil until fork tender. The next step is to puree or mash it. I used an immersion blender in the pan. I drained part of the water off first. This is what it looks like once it is blended (below).

I cut some beet greens from the garden yesterday. Don't they look pretty?!

Beet greens take a little more time to cook than spinach. So, if you want to boil them first (2 minutes) to soften them, do that first. I just chopped mine up and put them into the mix. You can blend them with the tomato sauce if you think your kids will fuss. They'll never know they are in the sauce!

Above is a picture of everything tossed in. In addition to the beet greens, I added baby portobello mushrooms, fresh basil, diced tomato, canned tomato sauce, oregano, crushed garlic (I used 2 cubes of Dorot) and a pinch of salt.

I served it over some rigatoni with a little Parmesan.  This has a wonderful taste and is a nice thick sauce. A perfect vegetarian meal in my book! Leave off the Parmesan for a delicious vegan dish. You'll never miss the meat!

Here is the recipe:

Eggplant Tomato Pasta Sauce with Beet Greens

1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 large tomato, diced
10 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 c. chopped beet greens or other greens
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Peel and cube the eggplant. In a large frying pan, cook the eggplant in salted boiling water until fork tender. Drain off half of the cooking water (or leave if you want a thinner sauce, or if you intend to let the sauce simmer for awhile). Using an immersion blender, food processor or potato masher, make the eggplant into a sauce. Add tomato sauce, garlic and dried oregano. Add other ingredients and allow to simmer until desired consistency. Serve over cooked pasta.  Add grated Parmesan to taste.