Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mediterranean Veggie Burgers with Provolone and Italian Ketchup.

I've been following Rachael Ray for a long time now... and for a girl who claims to be "Queen of Burgers" and never had a veggie burger until now... I wanna say - it's about time!! I was totally excited while watching her show and she had veggie burgers on the docket to make at the end. Yay! I really like the beef-free bean burgers... but wanted another stanby. This for sure is a keeper. And yes, I did slurge and got the provolone cheese for it.

There's a lot of steps, so I was in my right mind to go ahead and double the recipe and freeze half for later. It uses couscous or quinoa and lentils, so is a great way to use leftovers.

I didn't make the ketchup this go round, time was not on my side. Which looks really, really good and would add even more flavor. But I added avocado and sprouts and some natural ketchup. Yum! Shayne really liked them too. You have to focus on the fact that they're not a hamburger sub, just something a little like them but healthy for you!

For the Ketchup:

1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
1 clove crushed garlic
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Burgers:
3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
12 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
A small handful dried mushrooms, all porcini or mixed
2 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (for nuttier burgers) or cooked cold couscous (for softer burgers)
1 cup drained chickpeas (I used black beans)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds
1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins  (omitted, too scared to mess 'em up)
1 egg (For a vegan burger, omit -- be gentle when flipping burgers so they don't fall apart)

6 slices Provolone cheese
Ciabatta or other crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted
Arugula dressed lightly with lemon juice and EVOO (i used sprouts)

Combine ketchup ingredients in a small pot and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer to thicken to the consistency of ketchup, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add carrot, onions and mushrooms, and sauté to tender. Add thyme and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook a minute or 2 more then turn off heat and cool.

To a food processor bowl, add a few pieces of dried mushrooms. Process to finely chop then add lentils, quinoa or couscous, chickpeas, nuts and raisins. Season with salt and pepper and add cooled, cooked vegetables. Pulse until well combined. Add egg and pulse a few more times. Form 6 patties.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 5-6 minutes. Flip burgers, cook 2-3 minutes more, add cheese and tent pan with tin foil to melt cheese, 1-2 minutes. Serve on rolls with greens and Italian ketchup.
a Rachael Ray recipe

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cherry Chipotle Chili.

This should be called "Cherry Chipotle Chili, Hold the Chipotle." That's what the title said, but there was no chipotle in the recipe (checking to see if it was left off). Anyhow, my first go at any recipe I usually cook it exactly like the recipe says... and then adjust the next time if it's a hit.

I was more intrigued to make this because it sounded totally interesting, and I'm currently obsessed with dried cherries. Plus, it has most of the ingredients that we love. I loved it, my kids loved it... but my husband (and Mandy - I gave her some leftovers to see what she though) thought it was too sweet... and really needed the chipotle. NEXT time I'll add a good amount of chipotle in adobo.

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried cherries (our grocery has them by the raisins)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
1 bottle roasted red pepper chopped, or one fresh red pepper chopped
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
? chipotle in adobo sauce?
4 cup petite canned chopped tomatoes
1 16 oz can black beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
avocado to taste

For chips: (i skipped the chips)
Spelt Flour tortillas
Coconut oil

Heat 1 cup of broth in microwave. Place cherries in small bowl and add hot broth and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 4 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion (and red bell pepper if not using bottled roasted bell pepper); sauté about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add chopped bottled red pepper (if not using fresh), chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and remaining broth, bring to boil.

Reduce heat; simmer uncovered about 5 minutes. Stir in beans, cilantro, and cherry mixture. Continue cooking until thoroughly heated.

I cut one tortilla into wedges and fry in coconut oil and stick the triangles in one side of the bowl and then chop a half of avocado and put on top of the chili.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Perfect Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms.

These are the yummiest little pockets of shrooms. I'm loving Chef AJ's cookbook, Unprocessed. You can also see her make these on YouTube with "The Chef and the Dietitian".

12 crimini mushrooms
1 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon yellow miso
1 cup fresh basil
juice of one lemon, or to taste

Destem mushrooms and set aside. Remove some of the center if necessary. Place the rest of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade and process until smooth. Fill the mushroom cups and dehydrate 2-4 hours until warm. OR bake at 350*F for 45 minutes or until soft.

Appetizer Night.

I was trying to think of something fun for Friday night's meal because we weren't going out... and let's face it, things have gotten a little boring around here. I only blame myself. Then I thought to do a "dippers" or appetizers only night when I realized there was a few I wanted to try. It turned out good, and shall I say a little fun to break from the norm.
hummus with pita chips

Baked Zucchini Sticks and Sweet Onion Dip.

These were realllly good. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as the ones they did, I blame it on not using the cheese. Shayne and I think we would have liked them without all the crust and just some herb seasoning. The dip was good, but wasn't worth all the work just for us. Does that sound bad? I'll have to roast more zucchini this way to eat. SO good! 
recipe from King Arthur Flour

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monkey Buns.

This was a recipe I merged into making it vegan from a recipe from Rachael Ray and Reversing Diabetes. I loved these little buns prevegan days and remembered the yummy Oatmeal Drop Scones, and figured I could merge them. And I did. And they were yummy! Here goes...

1 large banana, thinly sliced
1 cup honey
2 to 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon sugar/agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups nondairy milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray 10 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In each cup of the tin, lay down a few slices of banana and cover with about 1 tablespoon honey and a pinch of cinnamon.

Grind the oats to a fin meal in a dry blender. Pour into a medium bowl and add the flour, sugar/agave, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.

Mix the nondairy milk and lemon juice or vinegar in a small bowl. Pour into the dry mixture and stir briefly with a fork. Drop spoonfuls into muffin tins. Smooth the tops a bit with a wet fingertips. Bake for about 15 minutes.

When the scones come out of the oven, let them cool for a couple of minutes then place a large platter or baking sheet on top of the muffin pan. Carefully, but quickly, invert the biscuits. Remove the muffin tin and serve warm. Yum.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

belly bites by week: 16th addition

{My family over while Jeff & Ruth were in town...
I hadn't cooked chicken in a year and a half, and didn't miss snipping of the fat!}
OUT: Bosses Pizza
{Mandy put it in my mind, and I couldn't get it out... so we had to make it a mid-week outing}
Fiesta Ranch Rice Bowls
Mashed Potatoes & green beans
{I think I may like these muffins more then the beanballs. Sorry Veganomicon. They're totally less work not having to roll all the balls!}

Saturday, October 8, 2011

belly bites by week: 15th addition

{Shayne's parents in town, Ellis' over for family dinner... These are seriously the BEST burgers you can make at your house!!}
JDR Foundation fundraiser for Robby
{I have mastered this peasant bread... it's SO good and have been told it tastes like Macaroni Grills bread. Can't complain with that. SOOOO good! And EASY!}
fiesta ranch rice bowls
pasta with roasted garlic pasta sauce, steamed broccoli & peasant bread
This stuff is gooooood! I've been trying to replicate this pasta I fell in love with at Cafe Express, Pomodoro (the Capri pasta is pretty dang good too). Next time I'll use half roasted cherry tomatoes and half canned diced tomatoes.  
Morris’ for Jeremy's surprise birthday party!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce.

While I was searching for a copycat recipe of my newly in-love-with-pasta Pomodoro from Cafe Express, I found this Emeril Lagasse one that looked scrumpy. And it was. I added 6 sun-dried tomatoes and next time I'll use half roasted cherry tomatoes. It was a good start to the "penne pasta with grape, oven roasted & sundried tomatoes, basil" that I dream about. It also makes a lot, so I froze it and will whip it out for an easy post-baby meal.

1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or use lots less)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
3 whole heads roasted garlic, cloves removed from peels [and I mashed them]
6 sundried tomatoes, diced
penne pasta

In a large saucepan saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and lightly golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, salt, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you place them in the pan, and their juices. Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the roasted garlic cloves and stir to combine. Continue to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes longer, or until the flavors have come together. The last 15 minutes add the sundried tomatoes and stir. You still want some chew to them once the sauce is done.

Serve over pasta of choice.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cajun Oven Fries.

An awesome go-to for homemade steak oven fries. Nice and spicy! Although, don't eat with leftover BBQ Chipotle Burgers and Sweet & Spicy Cucumbers. Holy Moly, our family was one big sweaty mess by the end of dinner. Ok, not that bad. But way too much spicy for one meal!

4 medium thin-skinned white potatoes
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce
1 teaspoon ground thyme or poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut potatoes into wedges. In a large bowl, combine oil, hot sauce, thyme, paprika, and cumin. Toss potatoes in dressing and spread out in a single layer on a nonstick cookie sheet. Season wedges with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once. [or, I like to cook the fries on a cooling rack ontop of a cooking sheet... that way the heat goes all the way around the frie and you don't have to flip them... a RR Tip]

Saturday, October 1, 2011

belly bites by week: 14th addition

these were good and easy... next time I'll omit the salt because i felt like there was enough in the seitan. Thanks Mama Pea!

(thank you deal!)




new pizza place by our house, Pollenzo's
yum! Love that there's a good, yet expenisve, pizza place by our house. But LOVE the living social deals we've found for it!

OUT/Priesthood broadcast – Subway & Sonic
trying to please 2 kids that were bound and determined to have "cheese sandwiches" aka, grilled cheese

We were naughty this week... 3 meals out?!?