Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Indian-style Potato and Pea Curry (Aloo Mattar)

So after making Yellow Dal, we had coconut milk leftover and we wanted to try making Garlic Naan. So what did I do? I went online searched through some menus of Indian restaurants as well as recipe site to get inspiration of the next Indian dish. Here is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings):
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (we used Safflower oil)
1 small yellow onion from our garden (or ½ store-bought onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¾ cup frozen peas
½ can coconut milk, depending desired consistency

Preparation:
1. Place potatoes into a large pot that contains salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
2. If serving with rice, start the preparation of the rice. Also, if you are planning on making home-made Naan make sure to start proofing the yeast.
3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, garam masala, and salt; cook for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, peas, and potatoes. Pour in the coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
4. Serve with Basmati rice and home-made Naan. Enjoy =)

Flatbread served with Aloo Mattar

Flatbread served with Aloo Mattar

Note: Regular home-made Naan recipe https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-homemade-naan-indian-flatbread/ and home-made Garlic Naan recipehttps://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-naan-bread-with-garlic/.

The dish stores well in airtight container and heats well in microwave. Be aware though, that it may even be more delicious the second day.

Inspired from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spicy-Vegan-Potato-Curry/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=1875


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Incredibly-Easy Tomato Salsa

I have posted recipes for Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/tomatillo-salsa/ and Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/garden-fresh-tomato-and-tomatillo-salsa/. For those who either shy away from using tomatillos or do not have tomatillos on hand, of course you can also make salsa just using tomatoes. Remember the quality and taste of your taste will be directly proportional to the quality of the ingredients.

A couple of weeks ago, I used up the last tomatoes from our garden to make salsa with (except the cherry tomatoes that I roasted, I will post about those soon). These heirloom tomatoes were grown all organic and offered a variety of different tastes. Store-bought tomatoes will work, but they may not taste as amazing as home-grown tomatoes or tomatoes from a local farmer. Also, ideally use tomatoes that were bought in season, you can taste the difference.

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder, optional

Preparation (5 minutes):
1. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (For this batch, I only added salt and pepper).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas”, see below.

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Black Bean Soup that Boasts with Flavor

I have noticed lately that barely any of the canned soups that I used to like can measure up with the taste of making home-made soups. The inspiration for this soup recipe came from a slow cooker cook book we got for Christmas last year.

The soup is easy to make and is filled not only with lots of flavor but also lots of healthy ingredients.

Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped
½ small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (or pressed with garlic press)
1 (14-ounce) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic diced tomatoes, left undrained
2 cups vegetable stock (2 cups water and 1 veggie bouillon cube), less if thicker consistency desired
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 3.5-quart Crock pot, add the beans, tomatoes, and spices. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Remove and discard the bay leaf and taste to adjust the seasonings. To thicken, purée at least 2 cups or up to one half of the soup solids with an immersion blender right in the cooker, or ladle into a regular blender or food processor and return to the cooker. (Puréeing some of the solids gives the soup added flavor and a creamier texture.)
4. Serve hot. Optional: Sprinkle with shredded cheese (suggestion: Mexican cheese mix).

Hearty meal:
* Beans are a great meat alternative. They are high in proteins, while being low in fat and high in fiber.

Note: If you prefer a thicker soup, you may try to use less vegetable broth.
Reheats well the next day.

Adapted from: Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Roberson


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Irresistable Homemade Pizza Sauce

TOMATOES…they are all ripening ALL at once. So I started looking for recipes that use tomatoes. We had been using them as toppings for pizza a lot…but then I thought what about making pizza sauce from scratch and using garden tomatoes on the pizza.

I searched the web and eventually came up with the recipe below. I do not like tomato paste. It tends to be bitter and to balance it out, sugar is often used. So our recipe does not contain tomato paste, which reduced the addition of processed ingredients and eliminated the need for sugar.

Ingredients (Suitable for 1-2 14 to 16-inch pizzas):
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (I used basil olive oil, available at Trader Joe’s in a 3-pack with lemon and hot pepper olive oil)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 medium tomatoes (I meant to weigh them, but I forgot. Once blended, it made approximately 24-32 ounces. See note below)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon flour (optional)
a bit of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (add a bit at a time and add last to make sure it is not too spicy for your taste, since Pecorino Romano cheese will add some flavoring as well)

Preparation:
1. Heat the olive oil in sauce pan. Add garlic and saute for approximately 10-12 seconds. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.

2. Add blended tomatoes to sauce pan and add spices. Heat to simmering and continue simmering uncovered for approximately 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Stir occasionally. I added a bit of flour (with a whisk to avoid clumping) to make sure that the sauce gets desired consistency. I added a bit of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Stir until cheese is fully melted.

3. Use immediately on home-made pizza dough https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/homemade-pizza-dough/ and make home-made pizza https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/homemade-pizza/. Alternatively, the sauce can be frozen, see https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/freezing-homemade-pizza-sauce/.

Note:
We used a variety of heirloom tomatoes. We seeded some of them as we wanted to keep the seeds. I will post how to save tomato seeds soon.

 

Inspiration came from the world-wide web, just to list a few recipes I looked at before I started this kitchen experiment. Thanks for the delicious inspiration =)

Inspiration for spices and parmesan: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/exquisite-pizza-sauce/ ; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/basic-pizza-sauce-recipe.html http://www.ohsweetbasil.com/2013/04/pizza-sauce.html 

Inspiration for using the blender and storage: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/02/5-minute-pizza-sauce.html

Inspiration for using fresh tomatoes: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/basic-tomato-pizza-sauce-recipe/


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Garden-Fresh Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo recipes continued. I searched online for a simple salsa recipe to modify and add tomatillos to. This is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 cup (8 ounces) tomatillos, husked, washed, and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Place tomatoes, onion, tomatillos, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (cumin, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

Recipe inspired by http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-fresh-tomato-salsa/

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Crock Pot Quinoa & Tomatillo Soup

Tomatillo month continues: After thinking about it for a long time, we finally bought a crock pot (3.5 quarts). It is only fitting that our first recipe included quinoa as well as tomatillos. It’s a simple and delicious recipe that is filled with lots of healthy and vegan-friendly protein. Enjoy =)

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups chopped tomatillo)
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley (alternatively, you can use dried cilantro)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano (optional, we did not have it available)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cans (15-ounce) kidney beans (or black beans), rinsed well
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you could use canned vegetable or chicken broth)
1/3 cup multicolored quinoa (available at Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:
1. Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried parsley and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more.
2. While the vegetables are sauteing, rinse the beans thoroughly.
3. Put tomatillo-onion mixture into 3.5 quart crock pot. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, vegetable broth, and quinoa. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours.) Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time according to how hot your crock pot gets.)

Note: Recipe was inspired by http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2008/10/crockpot-recipe-for-vegetarian-black.html


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Curried Indian Chickpeas

I am still behind with posting things…but this another attempt to catch up one recipe at a time.

Here is a recipe that is super-yummy and easy to make. It cannot compete with traditional Indian cooking, but it is really really really good.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings)
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup vegetable broth
2 (15 ½ -ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder or tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons prepared chutney
2 (15 ½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

Preparation:
1. Sautee the onion in olive oil until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Cover, and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes (I preferred simmering 15-20 minutes to soften chickpeas), stirring occasionally, until heated through.
3. Meanwhile prepare rice to go with meal. We prefer Jasmin rice.
4. Serve over rice or other whole grain if desired.

Curried chickpeas served over Jasmin rice

Curried chickpeas served over Jasmin rice

Healthful benefits:
* Chickpeas are a great source of proteins, so it is a wonderful dish for vegetarians. It is also high in fiber. In addition, the amount of iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K content contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.
* Tomatoes are a great source of vimatins C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.


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Superdelicous veggie lasagna

We love lasagna, but who doesn’t?! =)  It is very easy to make and it is so much fun to make it. Also it makes a full meal if you plan on having dinner guests or without dinner guest you end up with leftovers. These leftovers are ideal delicious lunches or you can freeze the leftovers and enjoy later. Depending on the season or veggie preferences, the ingredients can be adjusted, which is another great benefit of making home-made lasagna.

For this particular recipe, we did not make the tomato sauce from scratch. It was store-bought. However, we did make the lasagna noodles from scratch.

Ingredients for lasagna noodles:
100 g Semolina flour
100 g All-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
milk if necessary to make the dough

Preparation of lasagna noodles:
1. Add flour and eggs to the KitchenAid and mix until it makes soft pliable dough. If the eggs are small or the dough does not seem to come together, try adding a bit of milk.
2. Once dough is soft but not too sticky (if too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour), run it through the pasta-press attachment. You will likely have to run it through a couple of times until the pasta has the desired thickness. Keep in mind that you do not want the pasta noodles too thin or too thick. Place the pasta noodles to the side. Make 6 noodles (similar in size to the store-bought lasagna noodles), enough to make two layers in the lasagna dish.

Ingredients for the vegetables:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 rainbow carrots, peeled and sliced
2 zucchini, cubed 3 tomatoes, cubed
1 yellow pepper, cubed
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Preparation of the vegetables:
1. Heat olive oil in large pan. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add carrots and continue cooking over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add zucchini, yellow pepper, tomatoes and spices. Continue cooking until all vegetables are tender. Be careful to not over cook the vegetables, as they will still be baked with the lasagna. Pasta sauce (we used store-bought pasta sauce, 26 ounce jar) You could use home-made marinara sauce, see the following link for a suggestion: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/simply-delicious-marinara-sauce/
Shredded cheese (we used shredded 6 cheese Italian blend)

How to assemble the lasagna:
1. Lightly spray lasagna dish (13 x 9 inches, 3 qt) with vegetable cooking spray. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of pasta sauce very thinly on the bottom of the lasagna dish. (This prevents the lasagna noodles from sticking to the lasagna dish.)
2. Layer three uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the pasta sauce. Layer half of the vegetable mixture on top of the lasagna plates and spread evenly. Spread of the pasta sauce on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with cheese. 3. Repeat layering with another three uncooked noodles, pasta sauce, and cheese.
4. Bake lasagna uncovered in preheated oven (400 F) for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness of pasta noodles with fork. Enjoy with fresh baked bread =)

Lasagne--ready-set-eat!!!

Lasagna–ready-set-eat!!!

Lasagne_cut_small

Pasta noodle recipe adapted from http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/01/how-to-make-fresh-pasta-homemade-recipe/

Notes:
You can use store-bought lasagna noodles. Make sure to pre-cook them following the box instructions. You may have to increase the baking time a bit. Check with a fork testing for doneness of the pasta.
This dish freezes well. Just cut into portion-sized pieces and freeze in separate containers. When you want “fresh” lasagna, just pull one of the containers out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. Simply heat in microwave and enjoy =)

Health benefits of this recipe * By not adding a ricotta cheese, egg, and parmesan mixture layer, we are able to reduce the amount of calories considerably. * The various vegetables contribute a variety of different vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.


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Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup is among my favorite types of soups. It is so easy to make and it is offers so much flexibility. It is a great way to use up a variety of veggies that need to be used up. It also easy to change the ingredients, so you can choose your favorite ones or can skip one if you do not have it at hand. Furthermore, depending on what you add to the soup, you can change how filling it is.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
same asparagus
3 rainbow-colored carrots, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 veggie buillion cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
optional pasta (for example, elbow pasta)

Preparation:
1. Saute onions and carrots, until softened. Then add the other ingredients, except pasta and cheese (if using).
2. Continue heating the soup on low to medium heat. You do not want to cook the soup. Heat until all vegetables are desired tenderness. Meanwhile (if using pasta), prepare the pasta according to directions on pasta package.
3. Once vegetables are tender, pour soup into bowls and add pasta. Serve with shredded cheese, baguette bread, or grilled cheese.
Note: This soup stores well in air-tight container in refrigerator. If you add the pasta before storing it, the pasta will soak up all the liquid in the soup, so it may be best to store the pasta in a separate container.

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

Health benefits:
* Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C and B, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Kidney beans are rich in potassium and magnesium, thus they help to keep blood pressure in check. In addition, the high fiber content can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium


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Minestrone soup–Dutch Oven Version

Here is another recipe that we successfully adapted for cooking in the dutch oven. The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust its list of ingredients based on what produce is in season and better yet based on what you need to use up from your fridge or pantry.

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings):
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced (my favorite type of carrots to use are rainbow carrots)
3 fingerling potatoes, cubed (these are small potatoes which come in different colors, I used one purple, one violet, and one yellow potato)
1 can organic kidney beans
3 Roma tomatoes, diced including the juices
1 veggie bouillon cube
Approximately 3 cups of water
salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste
a dash of Cajun pepper

Cooked pasta (we used bicycle-shaped pasta) and shredded cheese (optional)

Preparation:
1. Use a little bit of butter and coat the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven (8 inch).
2. Add all the ingredients, except the pasta and cheese. Add some water to the dutch oven. I rinsed the can of beans and the flexible cutting board with some water that I added into the Dutch oven–it’s the whole leave-no-trace thing. (It is advised especially in areas where there are bears to not dump any water that may contain food particles on the ground. Therefore, I used the rinse water for the soup and brought pasta that I had cooked at home. If you cook pasta in “bear-country” without outhouses or restrooms, you are advised to drink the pasta water…yuck!!!)
3. Place Dutch oven on hot coals and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. The length may vary depending on heat of fire, size of the veggies, and the desired done-ness). Check periodically and stir to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom or the sides of the Dutch oven.
4. Once heated, serve in bowls with pasta and shredded cheese. Enjoy =)

Minestrone soup in Dutch  Oven

Minestrone soup in Dutch Oven

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

Health benefits:
* Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C and B, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Kidney beans are rich in potassium and magnesium, thus they help to keep blood pressure in check. In addition, the high fiber content can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.