Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans

January 12, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Looking to make some pasta but wanting to kick it up a notch? Add some roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans and you’ve got it. The pecans add a crunchy texture into what would otherwise be “normal” pasta while the basil brings in a hint of spring that I’ve been longing for on these long winter nights. I used both fresh regular basil and some red leaf mixed in for good measure.

I’m a fan of butternut squash already peeled, cubed and ready to go.  The bright orange color and the sweet roasted flavor helped boost my mood on a cold winter’s evening. I suppose a bonus is the heated oven keeps things nice and toasty in the kitchen.

Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans
By Megabeth

  • 1 package fresh cubed butternut squash
  • 16 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 cup crushed pecans
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread butternut squash, onions and garlic cloves on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast for 40 to 45 minutes until butternut squash is golden. Add pecans to baking tray for the last 4 to 5 minutes to toast. (Watch onions to make sure they don’t burn.)

Meanwhile, make penne pasta per package directions and place in bowl. Toss roasted vegetables into pasta. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with some cheese.

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Indian Chickpea Spread

July 05, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Side Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers

Moosewood Restaurant. Just the very words make a vegetarian’s mouth water. This famous vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, which began in 1973, has spun-off a series of cookbooks and packaged meals that usually don’t steer you wrong.  In fact, I have a very dog-eared copy their  Moosewood Restaurant: Low-Fat Favorites cookbook that was written in 1996.

The cookbook focuses, obviously, on more healthful Moosewood creations and has informative sections on nutrition facts, low fat cooking tips and nutritional terms. I like that the index is enhanced with recipe lists in various categories – 10% or less fat, vegan, and children’s favorites.

Tucked in the back are further charts and nutritional analysis of various foods. (I really need to remember that I have these.)

There are no photos at all in the cookbook but expect lots of nutritional information and notes that accompany each recipe. You don’t have to worry with this cookbook – you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

This is an extensive cookbook with so many selections I often have trouble choosing what to make out of it. Another recipe that came out of this tome was this Carolina Kale.

This Indian Chickpea Spread was a sort of spiced cold hummus dip that goes well with toasted pita chips or vegetable crisps. Well, that’s how we ate it. The recipe also suggests serving it as a sandwich spread, as a side dish or with vegetable crudites. You can’t go wrong with any of those options. I did add a little more cumin, garam masala and cayenne at the end than what was called for to punch up the flavors.

Indian Chickpea Spread
Moosewood Restaurant: Low-Fat Favorites

  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon canola or other vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (16 ounce can)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste

In a heavy or nonstick skillet, saute the onions in the oil on low heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and cayenne and saute for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.

Stir in the tomatoes, cover, and gently simmer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid (or water) to make a smooth puree.

Stir the puree into the simmering tomato mixture, add the lime juice and cilantro, and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve hot or cold.

Vegetarian Slow-Cooked Refried Beans (Without the Refry)

April 04, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes

 

Refried Beans Without the RefryThis is one of those sinfully easy recipes that tastes like you put a lot more work into it than you actually did. And, best of all, you won’t miss the lard and fat that is normally put into refried beans. I did, however, have some trepidation about throwing the big hunks of onions in at the beginning. But, like magic (or rather several hours stewing in the slow cooker) those big pieces of onion mashed right up.

My beans were done at about the 6 1/2 or 7 hour mark, but I think that my slow cooker’s high setting is actually “super high” as I had some boil over. After the beans are done cooking, taste them and add some more spices at the end such as more cumin for smokiness or cayenne for a bit more bite.

By the way, this recipe makes a rather big batch. But, that’s ok,  you can come up with a lot of uses for these beans like enchiladas, nachos or just as a side dish all its own…

Refried Beans Without the Refry
Adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • 2 cups strong vegetable broth
  • 7 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker.

Pour in the water and broth and stir to combine.

Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. (Note: I found it a little easier to scoop the beans out with a slotted spoon and put them into another bowl for mashing.)

No More Bland Potatoes: Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

February 08, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Other

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

No need to let mashed potatoes go bare anymore. Even vegetarians need a good gravy recipe…and this is it!

Use this gravy when making Pistachio Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh with Mushroom Gravy.

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

by Megabeth

1 .5oz package dried porcini mushrooms (or shitake)
1/4 onion, diced (or more if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth (the stronger the better)
1/4 cup tamari
pinch nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper

Roux
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon corn starch, optional

Soak mushrooms in one cup of warmed vegetable stock for at least 20 minutes. Transfer to a small pot and simmer mushrooms for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms and reserve remaining broth. Cut mushrooms into smaller pieces.

In small saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic until softened. Add mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper and tamari.

Add remaining broth and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make roux by combining olive oil, water and flour. Whisk until a thick paste is made.

Add roux mixture and cook until the gravy is thickened, stirring frequently. Another 5-10 minutes. If gravy is not getting thick enough for you, add some corn starch, if desired. The longer it simmers, the better it gets.


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