Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roasted Vegetables=Apple

When thinking of something warm and inviting to top my barley risotto (see below for recipe), I came up with the idea of roasted veggies. I love roasted vegetables. I think the flavor is kind of sweet and still savory (think caramelization!)

It is fall and the weather here in Memphis, at least for the next few days is following the trend. The lows in the mornings are in the upper 40's and highs are in the 70's. Pleasant and mild! Just like these veggies!

Here is the recipe:

Sweet and Savory Roasted Vegetables

-1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1/2 pieces (each stalk gives you about three pieces when cut)
-6 carrots, peeled and cut on a diagonal in 1/2 inch (or so) pieces-this is rustic so do not get out the ruler!
-1 large sweet yellow onion cut into large pieces
-1 package (or equal to 1/2 pound or so) brussle sprouts-rinse them to remove sand and cut off bottom stem end and then slice in half (don't know em till you try em roasted!)
-1 package or bag of sliced mushrooms
-1-2 pints of grape tomatoes rinsed

For the Marinade
-1 cup olive oil
-1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
-1/2 cup dijon mustard
-1/2 cup honey
-2 tablespoons pepper
-1 teaspoon sea salt (if you prefer use Ms. Dash original blend)
*dressings and marinades are one of the few places I use salt, but it has to be sea salt for me!


-Put all cut up veg in a large mixing bowl-EXCEPT for TOMATOES, pour over marinade and toss all to coat evenly.
-Line a roasting pan or large casserole dish (9x12) with foil (easy clean up, yes mam!)-I double line mine.
-Place all veggies on the pan. but do not pour the marinade over them (too much marinade equals burnt veggies)
-Using a spoon lightly drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade over the veggies.
-Reserve the remaining marinade for later in the process
-Heat the oven to 400 degrees
-Place the veggies in the oven for 30-45 minutes
-Half way through check the veggies and see if they look dry, if so place extra marinade over the top and continue roasting
-When the veggies have about 5-10 left (think fork tender) add the tomatoes
-Remove from oven when the tomatoes are split and softened
-Toss all veg in the roasting juices

They are ready to top the risotto or whatever you like. A couple of ideas would be over a baked sweet potato, whole wheat penne (no sauce needed), or as a side with lemon chicken (that recipe will be coming soon!)

I gave this an APPLE as it is my own recipe. It is savory, sweet, nutritious, and versatile! Feel free to substitute other veggies like bell pepper, zuchinni, squash, eggplant, sweet potato, cauliflower, or whatever you prefer. The method is just about the same for all the veggies you can think of!
* If you aren't up to making your own or don't have the ingredients on hand italian dressing or balsamic dressing is an easy fix for the marinade!

Slow Cooker Barley Butternut Risotto!=Apple

This is really my own creation. I went in search of an alternative to one of my favorites, risotto. It is so good but not so good for the hips!

I found a few recipes like this one:

Pearled barley is an excellent whole grain that is good for you. It has a nice chewy texture that is perfect for risotto. What makes this recipe so friendly is there is no standing over a pot of rice and stock and stirring for an eternity. It is healthy too as there is no cream, butter (unless you just have to have it), or added salt! I do not cook with salt very often, but find spices a good replacement for salt.

So here is my recipe:

-1 crockpot!
-2 cups of pearled barley (look for this on the organic or healthfood isle, it is a light brown color)
-2 32 oz containers of veggie stock
-1 container of Campbells V8 Golden Butternut Squash soup
-1 teaspoon minced roasted garlic
-1 teaspoom poultry seasoning
-1 teaspoon Ms. Dash Original Blend
-1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon oregano (I used dried, but you can use fresh if you have it just use 1/2 teaspoon)
-1 teaspoon french four spice
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1 teaspoom garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
-1 tablespoon olive oil

Turn crock pot to high. Add stock and all spices, garlic, and olive oil.
Let liquid come to a simmer, add barley.
Turn crock pot to low setting (mine is the 10 hour setting on a Rival brand crock pot)
Put lid on slightly ajar to steam can escape.

Let the barley cook for about 6 hours. (I did this overnight, it was done at 4am.)
Check on it at least twice, stirring to make sure all grains are seperate.
When all liquid is absorbed, add about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of the butternut squash soup.
Stir and turn off crock pot.
If it needs more liquid, add water to desired consistency.

This is not only yummy, but so good for you! Now if only Landon would eat this!

I gave this an APPLE for taste, consistency, and nutrition. Because I didn't follow a recipe, there was nothing I would change! Hopefully, my co-worker Meghan will find it delicious as well with the roasted veggies I prepared to top it (that recipe is next!)

What's for Breakfast!?!=Bite

For work this week, I thought I would approach breakfast and lunch a little different. Because I have an office mate who is nutrition minded like me (still trying to shed pounds, now that the baby weight is gone...), I decided to make enough for us both.

She found a recipe from her daily Prevention magazine email that I adapted.

Whole Wheat Cranberry-Orange Muffins
-1 tablespoon trans-free margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-2 cups whole wheat flour or whole grain pastry flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-3 tablespoons grated orange zest
-1 cup orange juice
-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
-2 lightly beaten eggs
-1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
-1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

I gave this a BITE for a few reasons. I didn't have fresh cranberries, so I used dried. I also added 3/4 cup of rolled oats to the batter. I used fresh squeezed orange juice instead of bottled. I added more cinnamon than the recipe called for (1 teaspoon). I haven't tried them yet, but my hubby has and said they were good. I love the fact that these are made with whole wheat flour :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I thought this may help with planning my menu and passing on some of my adapted recipes. I got this idea from a friend of mine who started this last week (thanks Lindsey!). If you want more info please check out this great site http://orgjunkie.com/menu-plan-monday !

Tonight 9/28/09:

Seared filet, sauteed cherry tomatos from the garden, and quick herbed risotto

Tuesday 9/29/09:

Filet Quesadillas with corn and black beans, served with mango salsa and fat free sour cream

Wednesday 9/30/09:

Daddy's Chili with mini corn muffins (recipe for muffins coming soon!)

Thursday 10/1/2009:

Yummy left over chili with queso fresco and corn chips

Friday 10/2/09:

turkey, bacon, cheddar wraps and sweet potato fries

* I made some mini cheesecakes at the end of last week that we are still enjoying this week. Bakerella is another fav site of mine. The recipe is here http://www.bakerella.com/super-easy-mini-cherry-cheesecakes/ (I will be reviewing it and giving my spin a little later on!)

I had to alter my menu for Tuesday. Hubby decided to cut our jungle of a yard Tuesday after work. Since we had extra steaks he threw 2 more on the grill Monday night. This will make for a quick meal after he tackles the yard!