Posts Tagged ‘Fresh Herbs’

This recipe is a great dish for a Meatless Monday or as a side dish.  I adapted it from The Gourmet Cookbook which has the rice topped with deep-fried onions.  Even though the thought of some onion rings sounded yummy, I don’t think this dish needs them.  On its own the lentils and rice make a hearty and healthy dish.  If I could figure out how to make saag paneer I think I could make my perfect vegetarian meal.  I might even become a once a week vegetarian on a regular basis.  Happy lentils!

Lentils and Curried Brown Rice

  • 1 cup lentils picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Combine lentils with cold well-salted water to cover by 2-inches in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook lentils at a bare simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and gently rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add curry and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook uncovered for about 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.  All the liquid should be absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Transfer rice to a bowl and fluff with a fork.  Add lentils and parsley and toss well.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 6 as a side dish.


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This quick salad is a great side dish for chicken or is great all by itself.  It’s fresh, light and satisfying.  Be sure to eat it the day its made or the next day because the yogurt separates and looks a tad unappealing. 

Cucumbers with Yogurt and Mint

  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups sliced peeled cucumber (about 3 medium)

Combine yogurt, mint, salt, cumin and pepper in a large bowl.  Add cucumber to yogurt mixture, and toss gently to coat.  Cover and chill one hour.  Makes about four one cup servings.

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So my summer tomato craving has extended to canned tomatoes.  I use jarred pasta sauce often, but every once in a while I like to make my own sauce.  This is a 40 minute meal from start to finish.  You could cut down on the prep time by simply browning the ground beef and adding it to the sauce instead of making the meatballs.  My kids love meatballs so we almost always make them.  I used fresh basil and oregano from my yard for this recipe.

You may find it strange that I use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs in my meatballs.  I wanted to use something whole grain that served the same purpose and oatmeal is great alternative.  Just be sure to use plain quick cooking oats.  Start heating your pasta cooking water after you get the meatballs in the pan so that it boils while the sauce simmers.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (ground round or leaner)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons quick cooking oatmeal
  • ¼ milk
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounce can peeled crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup total fresh basil and oregano leaves roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Mix together the meatball ingredients with a fork until well combined.  Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a 12 inch non-stick pan (I like Calphalon’s hard anodized 12 inch sauté pan).  Form 1”meatballs adding them to the pan as you form them.  Make sure to leave some room in between each one.  Brown well, about 4 minutes, flip them carefully and brown the other side.  Remove meatballs to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Pour all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the pan and add onion and garlic.  Sauté until fragrant, about 90 seconds and add the chopped fresh herbs.  Sauté briefly then carefully pour in the canned tomatoes.  Season with about 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the meatballs back to the pan and very gently stir to submerge most of them in the sauce.  If you like your sauce thinner cover the pan and turn heat to low.  If you like a thicker sauce like me, leave the pan uncovered and the heat on medium low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes while your pasta cooks. Serve with whatever kind of pasta you like and parmesan cheese.  We like the non-fancy kind in the green can.  Serves 5.

New Camera = lots of pictures 🙂

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This recipe was in the June edition of Bon Appetite.  This recipe is extremely simple and makes good use of summer ingredients.  Summer makes me crave fresh tomatoes.  I’m actually growing grape tomatoes in my container garden this year and can’t wait to make this salad with my homegrown tomatoes.  The tomatoes at the grocery store are great right now too.  If you extremely dislike, (I can’t use the word hate or I’ll owe my kids a dollar), dill, use a different fresh herb.  If you love fresh dill like I do this is a fantastic recipe.  Enjoy!

Dilled White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

  • 2  15-ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced or 2/3 cup red onion
  • ¼ chopped fresh dill or combination of dill and basil
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Season with salt (about ½ teaspoon) and pepper.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.  This can be made ahead and refrigerated, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.

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It’s the first week of June and my sage is out of control!  I needed to use some and I saw a chef on Martha Stewart stick whole leaves to salmon and pan fry it.  It was very pretty, but he used an insane amount of butter and oil.  So to lighten it up a little, I used 2 tablespoons of butter for a 2½ pound side of salmon, stuck my sage on and baked it in the oven.  The result was flavorful tender salmon, without a crazy amount of added fat.  Salmon is fatty to start with, (probably why it’s so good, and somewhat forgiving) so I think just a little butter is good.  The sage leaves I used were enormous and by the way rather tasty.  My 3-year-old ate the sage off first then demanded the rest of us hand ours over.

Sage Brown Butter Salmon

  • 2 ½ pound salmon filet
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 8 – 10 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place salmon on a large baking dish coated with cooking spray skin side down.  (My piece was too long for the 9”x13” pan so I cut the skinny end off and squeezed it in next to the larger piece.)  Season with sea salt and pepper. 

In a small pan melt butter over medium heat.  Heat until foam disappears then add the chopped sage.  Heat until butter browns.  Watch it carefully because this happens very quickly.  Remove from heat and carefully add the lemon juice to the butter in pan.  Pour or brush the butter mixture evenly over the salmon.  Place the sage leaves however you like on top of the salmon and press them down firmly.  Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes.

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I made this rice dish as part of my husband’s birthday dinner last night and it was outstanding.  Its super simple, fresh and summery.  I doubled the recipe for 9 people and we had some leftover.  I used a mix of sweet basil and Thai basil, but it would be great with all sweet basil.  It went great with grilled filet mignon with horseradish aioli, smokin’ potato salad and savoy slaw with cilantro and mint.  I might get around to posting those recipes too.  Happy June!

Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil and add the rice and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. Transfer the rice to a bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour over the rice. Add the tomatoes and basil. Mix well and check the seasonings. Serve at room temperature.  Makes 4 half cup servings.

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I know its parsley in the picture not cilantro, please forgive me

I love soup, and with summer coming a bowl of hot steaming soup doesn’t sound so great after a day of playing outside with the kiddies.  This version of chicken noodle soup is cooled off with fresh, cool veggies and cilantro.  I think it tastes best room temperature.  It does seem like a lot of components but I made this for lunch today in less than an hour.  The chicken cooks for a long time so that it is tender and easily shredded.

Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 32 oz carton all natural or organic chicken stock
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tb onion, grated (or cheat and use 1 tsp dried minced onion)
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • 4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs, or 2 breasts
  • 1 lb. Asian noodles like somen, soba, or udon


  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha or Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), (optional)

Combine chicken stock, ginger, garlic, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, nutmeg, and pepper in a large saucepan.  Add chicken thighs and heat until simmering.  Simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes.  While the chicken is simmering cook noodles according to package directions in salted boiling water.  Most take between  5 and 10 minutes.  Drain noodles and rinse under cold water and set aside.  Grate the carrots and slice the cucumber while the chicken finishes.  When chicken is done, remove from broth and place on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  Shred chicken using 2 forks.  To assemble soup, divide noodles among bowls, ladle broth over noodles, top with shredded chicken.  Arrange carrots, cucumber slices, cilantro, and hot sauce on top of chicken.  Stir together before eating.  (Makes 4 servings)

For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth (one without tomato), and tofu.  Combine the broth ingredients and add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes or so.  Assemble the same way!

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