Veggie Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna 8

This recipe is inspired by a video I watched on Netflix by Rip Esselstyn. The video was called Engine 2, Kitchen Rescue. I loved it. I tried to create one of the recipes that he made on the show. It’s a high protein lasagna with loads of fiber. I made it my way, and it turned out awesome and Hubby loves it. I used what I had in my pantry and fridge. I made a huge dish and he’s been having his lunch out of it for three days and wants more!

This recipe feeds four or more with hearty appetites.

Ingredients

  1. Onion – 1 large cut into large slices
  2. Mushrooms – baby bella sliced
  3. Green Pepper – sliced into thick slices
  4. Broccoli – 1 bag frozen florets
  5. Corn – 1 can drained
  6. Brussel sprouts – 1 cup chopped
  7. Tofu – 1 pack medium firm (crumbled by hand)
  8. Tomatoes – 4 Roma thinly sliced
  9. Sweet potato – 2 large (pricked with a form liberally all over, nuked for 12 min together in the microwave, then mashed with a fork)
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Pesto – store bought
  12. Tomato sauce – 1 box or large can
  13. Parmesan cheese – freshly grated (Vegans can use grated cashews. I’ve heard they are really good. I will try next time I use this recipe.)
  14. Fresh Basil – handful of leaves
  15. Lasagna – box of strips ready to bake

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook the sliced onions, sliced mushrooms, and sliced green peppers in a preheated skillet/pan (should be very hot). Stir frequently at first to avoid burning the vegetables then stir frequently as they cook quickly in their own juices. They will have some browning from the onions and that is desired. No need to add oil but you can add some salt. I like to add apple cider vinegar at this time (love the stuff).

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Layering…

I used a metal pan because my Pyrex dishes weren’t big enough.

First add tomato sauce and then pasta strips to cover the bottom of the pan (sorry I don’t have pix).  Mix all the cooked ingredients together with the raw veggies and crumbled soy.  I used a big mixing bowl. I also added some pesto and then put everything on top of the first layer of pasta strips.

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Layer with tomato sauce and then mashed sweet potato (I like to add the juice of a half lemon to the potato to bring out the flavor). Use your hands, so much easier. Just make sure nothing is too hot or you’ll burn your fingers.

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Layer with pasta and with some more tomato sauce.

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Add basil leaves and sliced tomatoes

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Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or if you want to make this vegan use grated cashews. I will post a picture when I bake with grated cashews.

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Bake covered for 45 minutes then remove cover and bake for 15 minutes. Remember it’s at 400 degrees F.

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Let stand a few minutes to settle and serve with garlic bread or just by itself.

 

Chicago in Winter

Lake Michigan in Chicago is beautiful all year round. It draws a lot of locals and tourists to its windy shores. Last week, I took some photos of the lake as it is in Winter. Very big, grey, and cold. Reminiscent of John Masefield’s “…flung spray and the blown spume and the seagulls crying.” It calls to those that love the “Windy day with the white clouds flying.” Chicago winters are not for everyone. They are harsh and severe. They are cold and for those who love it there is “a grey dawn breaking.” I love it.

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Dubois Park, Jupiter, FL

Dubois Park

Entrance: 19075 DuBois Road, Jupiter, Florida 33477

An amazing place for families, especially for young children. The waters are barely above waist deep for adults and calm all the time. Shady palm trees, sandy beaches, and an artificial reef that is already home to many species that you can enjoy with a snorkel. A great place for those who love quiet and nature.

Parts of the park are open to dogs and we saw many smaller dogs. Leash is required but we did see several little ones playing in the water off leash.

Hubby and I took our beach chairs and soaked up filtered sunlight from the shade of the many palm trees and the shady breezes with amazing views. It is peaceful yo! It is unbelievably so. We are not quite the grand-parenting age yet but we enjoyed some of the younger visitors to the park while we were there. It is a safer place to have the younger ones enjoy the South Florida waters even on the windier days. It is a beautiful place to picnic.

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Moroccan Fish Tagine

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A healthy and wholesome dish that is now my family’s favorite fish dinner dish.

The Red Snapper I bought for this dish today was too big for the tagine I had planned to use. So I used my dutch oven instead which was the perfect size. The pictures are not the greatest, so I’ll update when I cook this again.

Ingredients

  1. Fish, one whole fish cleaned with salt and lemon and rinsed with cold water. Make three big cuts in the side of the fish to help it absorb the marinade and cook evenly.
  2. Potatoes, 2 medium peeled and sliced thin
  3. Carrots, 2 scraped and sliced in rounds
  4. Onion, 1 large sliced
  5. Lemon, 1/2 sliced and 1/2 lemon for cleaning the fish

Charmoula (marinade)

  1. Parsley, 1/2 cup chopped
  2. Cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped
  3. Tomato paste, 1/2 cup (I used a tbsp)
  4. Olive oil, 1/4 cup
  5. Lemon, juice of 1 1/2 large lemon
  6. Garlic, 2 tbsp minced or smashed in mortar and pestle
  7. Paprika, 1tsp
  8. Saffron, few strands (a small pinch)
  9. Cumin, 1 tsp
  10. Salt, to taste
  11. Pepper, to taste

Preparation

The Charmoula (marinade) can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to two days.

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Mix all the Charmoula ingredients together in a bowl. Prepare the vegetables: peel and slice onions and potatoes (put potatoes in water while you wait), scrape and slice carrots.

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Clean the fish gently with salt and lemon juice.

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Rinse fish under cold running water

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Make three or four deep cuts in the fish to help absorb the marinade.

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I started by layering everything in a tagine (recently bought a nice one at Le Crueset) and found the Red Snapper we bought today was way too big. So I transferred everything into my dutch oven, also Le Crueset.

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Put the fish on top of the vegetables.

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Use about half of the Charmoula to marinate the fish inside out. Flip it over and make sure you coat the other side too, then flip it back so the cuts are on top.

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Stick sliced lemons into the cuts (It will look much nicer if you make the cuts so the lemon slices are going in the other direction. I will do that next time. ) I added leeks at the end. They were a special request from my kids.

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Cover and cook on low heat for an hour. I used a 3 on my electric stove.

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Mine was done perfectly in an hour. I served it with steamed rice, extra long grain basmati. It was really good and there were no leftovers 🙂

I made some quick preserved lemons to serve on the side.

Quick Preserved Lemons

This is served as a condiment, just enough for a 4 person meal.

  1. Lemon, 1 sliced (I didn’t use the outer ends)
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. Salt, 1 tsp

In a frying pan, arrange the lemon slices so they don’t overlap. Add lemon juice and sprinkle salt over them. Cook on low heat uncovered for 10 to 15 mins depending on your stove. Once they’re tender and the liquid is dried up, they’re done. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge and serve with any dish for some extra zest.

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Lemons after 10 mins. I added a little more juice and cooked an additional 5 mins.

 

 

Seven Vegetable Couscous

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We just got back from a trip to Morocco. I fell in love… with couscous! I made some today and it turned out really good.

Ingredients

  1. red onions, 2 medium
  2. chicken, 1 small
  3. lemon, 1 large
  4. vegetables, 2lbs mixed (I used potato, zucchini, carrots, peas, olives in brine) Cut them in half lengthwise for a nicer presentation (I cut them too small this time)
  5. cabbage, 1/2 of a small one
  6. cilantro and parsley, handful of each
  7. ginger powder, 1 tsp
  8. cumin powder, 1 tsp
  9. turmeric powder, 1 tsp
  10. salt, 1 tsp (or more to taste)
  11. garlic, cloves of one head peeled and crushed
  12. olive oil, 3 tbsp
  13. water for boiling and steaming
  14. couscous 2 cups (I will make 3 cups next time because the kids loved it)

Preparation

I used a large dutch oven but you can use any large pot so long as it heats evenly because this dish is cooked on very low heat. After I heated the pot on high I turned it down to 2 for the chicken and 1 1/2 for the vegetables. I prefer to cook slowly on low heat when I use olive oil which tends to burn easily.

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Sweat the onions in 2 tbsp olive oil on low heat.

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I use a wooden spoon to smash the garlic pods. That way they don’t go flying around the kitchen.

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Wash the cilantro and parsley, remove sticks, and cut the large lemon in half.

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I don’t have a garlic press but I have a mortar and pestle. Either is fine. I add lemon juice in the mortar after the garlic is mashed up.

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Mix the garlic, lemon, turmeric, ginger powder, cumin, and salt. Rub into the chicken and let it sit for a few minutes.

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Add chicken to the now softened onions. Stir to get the chicken coated nicely with the oil and onions. Add enough water to cover the chicken.

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Cover and simmer on low heat until meat is tender.

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Wash and peel vegetables (scrape the carrots). Traditionally the vegetables are cut in half lengthwise but I cut them smaller.

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Once cut, potatoes should be kept in salt water or else they oxidize.

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Remove the cooked chicken from the sauce and put aside.

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The broth will be used for cooking the vegetables and then served with the couscous.

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Soak the couscous in water (I add about an inch over the top of the couscous. Leave for a few minutes and then fluff with a fork and add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil.

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Steam the couscous for 10 minutes, return to bowl, fluff with a fork, add more water and leave to absorb. Then steam again for 25 minutes.

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Repeat the last step and steam another 10 minutes if you like the couscous more tender.

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While you wait… you may as well prepare a cup of Moroccan tea for yourself.

  1. I use a tsp of green tea (per tea glass) in a small teapot.
  2. Pour in boiling water
  3. and after a minute remove one glass of tea and put aside.
  4. Be careful not to swirl or stir the tea up to this point (it will make the tea cloudy)
  5. Add more water to the pot, swish it around (to wash the tea) and pour it out and discard.
  6. Put more hot water into the pot, add sugar, the first glass of tea and fresh mint to the teapot.

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Before pouring add fresh mint to the cup/glass too. With tea in hand… back to the business of couscous.

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Add vegetables to the broth in layers. First potatoes, then carrots, then zucchini, then cabbage and peas. Do not stir. Cook on low heat until tender. A few minutes before they are done, add olives to the mix.

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I don’t have a large round tray so I used my pasta bowl.

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Arrange the couscous in a ring. I really needed more couscous and will have to make 3 cups next time.

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Add the chicken to the center and arrange the vegetables around it on top of the couscous. Add the remaining lemon and chopped cilantro and parsley on top. Serve the broth on the side to be ladled over the couscous.

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I don’t use a lot of salt when I cook. There’s always some sea salt on the table for those who like more.

India Bazaar, West Palm Beach

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When you go vegetarian, go Indian! So many choices and so many wonderful ways to satisfy the nutritional needs of your body. Yesterday as I was replenishing my stock of spices from my favorite store in West Palm Beach, I asked them if it would be ok to post about them. Yes, they said, it was fine and so I’m back with photos! And oh, btw, they do sell meat as well and it is very fresh and clean. I buy my ground chicken there for hubby who can’t eat other meats.

India Bazaar is at 4780 Okeechobee Blvd., in West Palm Beach. Run by a family, you will always be greeted with warmth and a smile.

Yesterday I bought okra (bhindi), Chinese okra or Ridge Gourd (torai), onions, bitter gourd/melon (karela), bottle gourd (loki), eggplant (baingan), and several spices including turmeric, star anise, cumin, cardamom, and some others. Their prices are great, the stuff is fresh and clean and smells good.

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Kashmiri Chai or Pink Tea

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This tea is a weekend and special occasion favorite in my family. It takes a little longer to make than most other teas but it’s so worth the effort. My aunts and my mother always made this tea for breakfast on days when there was a family gathering or a holiday when family and friends were expected. I’ve made this brew without nuts but it is typically made with slivered almonds and finely chopped pistachios.

I’m using a recipe here that after many trials and failed attempts turned out the way it’s supposed to! Although I had the recipe… not one but several from my aunts – each made a different way – this one turned out to my satisfaction.

This recipe makes four cups of tea.

Ingredients

  1. Green Tea – two tsp  (I prefer Gunpowder tea from the local Indian stores)
  2. Water – 2 cups to start the process and 2 cups of iced water to add later
  3. Baking Soda – two pinches or a fifth of a tsp
  4. Cardamom – 4 crushed
  5. Whole milk – 1 cup or more as desired
  6. Nuts (optional) – 2 tsp of crushed pistachio and 2 tsp

Method

Bring two cups of water and two tsps of green tea to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes (I use a 3 setting on my electric stove)

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The tea will be slightly pink by now but not the red we want. Add the cold water slowly, the two pinches of baking soda, and the cardamom, and bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

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By now it should be turning red.

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Whisk the tea for 5 minutes. While you whisk you will see it turn a bright red.

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Strain the tea into a jug or another pan.

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Pour the tea back into the rinsed pan.

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In another pan bring the milk to boil and simmer for a few minutes.

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Pour the hot milk into the tea brew.

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Continue adding milk until you have a nice pink color. At this point you can add the nuts (slivered almonds and chopped pistachio to taste) and serve hot. This tea is traditionally served with salt but we add sweetener or sugar to taste.

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