Archive for Quick

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

One of the coffeeshops I really like here has a great wrap on their menu called a super veggie hummus wrap. I love this sandwich, despite its odd ingredients. The only problem? It costs $9 and doesn’t even come with chips! I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to make this delicious lunch at home–and for much less money.

Now because of the broad range of ingredients in this sandwich, it will only be a reasonable price if you plan to use these items in other dishes. For example, you could use some grilled veggies for this wrap, and some on top of pasta, and some in a burrito. But as long as you use all the parts without letting them go to waste, it adds up to a pretty reasonable dish. I would estimate about $3/wrap.

Feel free to adjust the insides based on what you like/have in the house, but be sure to keep the hummus, apple and salsa. I know the three sound a little odd together, but I promise, it’s awesome.

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1 (easy to turn into more)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla, approx 10″ diameter
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 3 kalamata olives (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sauteed (or grilled) veggies–summer squash, zucchini, bell peppers and carrots are all wonderful
  • 1 thin slice red onion (several rings)–approx 2 tbsp when chopped
  • several thin apple (red or green) slices–approx 1/4 apple
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • non-stick spray
  1. If you don’t have any sauteed veggies, chop up what you have around, spray a small skillet with non-stick spray and throw the veggies in the pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally. They’ll be cooked enough by the time you’re ready to add them into the wrap. Quarter the red onion rings and the olives (if using), and chop the apple pieces into pieces about an inch square.
  2. Spread the hummus in a 2-3 inch wide strip down the middle of the tortilla, leaving an inch-wide space from the edge of the tortilla. Press the spinach into the hummus, tearing any large leaves. Add the veggies, olives, onion and apple slices on top of the spinach. Top with the salsa.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat and spray with non-stick spray. Fold up the wrap: first fold in the 1-inch spaces you left on the edge of the hummus strip. While holding those edges folded in, fold over one side and then the other. Place the wrap seam-side down into the skillet. Heat about 4 minutes, or until light brown. Then flip over and heat the other side for about the same length of time. Enjoy!

Note: Packing a lunch to eat later? This will work! Make it ahead of time at home, leaving out the salsa and bringing it with you in a small container. Add it to the wrap when you’re ready to eat. If you have access to a microwave, heat the wrap for 1 minute on 70% power.

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Spicy Tomato-Basil-Oregano Pesto

A week or so ago, I shared a delicious pizza with someone special. It was topped with with tomato-basil pesto and mushrooms. Mmm, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. I’ve been wanting to make a homemade pizza with some of the produce coming into the garden now, and I decided it would go well with some of this pesto. Fortunately, Cooks Illustrated provided me with a road map for what I wanted.

My basil plant is doing pretty well, but it’s my oregano that’s just exploding. And really, no good pizza is without oregano. I decided to throw it in the pesto instead of sprinkling it on it’s own.

This lovely pink pesto was great on my pizza (topped with zucchini and cheese), and it would also be great over pasta, which I’ll be trying soon. Like a basil pesto, this one will freeze well. I recommend freezing it in ice cube trays, and then popping out the pesto cubes into a freezer bag. That way, you can take out however much pesto you need without defrosting all of it.

Servings: Makes about 2 1/2 cups pesto

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • enough fresh oregano leaves to equal 1/2 cup when combined with the basil (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp wine vinegar (red or white)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent scorching. Set the pan aside to cool.
  2. Roughly dice the garlic clove. Add the garlic, tomatoes, herbs, pepper vinegar and salt to a food processor. Add the nuts when cool. Process until smooth, less than 1 minute. Scrap down the sides. Add the olive oil and continue to process for another minute, or if you have a feeder shoot on your processor (I do not), add the olive oil while its running.
  3. Use on anything you like: pasta, pizza, bruschetta…

Note: I only have a 2 cup food processor, so I had to do this in two batches. I just mixed the batches together in a bowl afterwards to make sure it was evenly distributed. For a less spicy pesto, use fewer pepper flakes.

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Creamy Kalamata Spread

I’m back! After a crazy year of school, I’m hoping to get this blog going again, starting with this easy spread perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. It’s based off of something sold at my local co-op, except that has feta cheese and roasted red peppers in it as well. I would encourage the enclusion of 2 tbsp of chopped roasted red pepper if you have some around, but I didn’t. I included something else to make up for feta’s saltiness that keeps the price down: some of the brine from my olives.

I brought this to a picnic today and served it with slices of baguette. It would also be great with crackers or sliced fresh vegetables. This would also be a really easy recipe to double for a larger crowd. You can also use vegan “cream cheese” to serve friends who don’t eat dairy.

Prep time: 20 min, plus some chilling time.

Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz neufchatel (low fat cream cheese)
  • 10-14 pitted Kalamata olives in brine, about 1/4 cup diced
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pepper
  1. Put the cheese in a small bowl and set aside on the counter to warm slightly. Finely dice the olives and green onion, discarding the root end of the onions. Mince the garlic.
  2. Combine all ingredients in the bowl with cheese mixing thoroughly with a fork. Add 1/4 tsp olive brine and taste. Add more brine and pepper to taste. Alternatively, for a smoother dip, combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (I like chunks of olives, but you may not.)

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Leftover Turkey Salad

Have you ever had one of those sandwiches with leftover roasted turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce? It’s very tasty but also a lot of bread in one meal. In this turkey salad recipe, I combined the flavors of the dressing with the turkey. I still recommend a few slices of jellied cranberry sauce. It adds delightful sweetness and tang. This salad would also work well stuffed inside a ripe tomato.

Servings: about 3

Cooking time: less than 25 minutes, depending on how quickly you chop vegetables.

  • 1 cup turkey pieces
  • 1 rib celery (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • a few sprigs of parsley (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 small apple (about 1/3 cup chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (less or more to taste)
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup light mayonnaise (to taste)
  • slices of jellied cranberry sauce (optional)
  1. Chop the celery, parsley and apple into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Combine with turkey pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, combine spices, oil and 1/4 cup mayo. Add this mixture to the turkey mixture. Add a little more mayo if necessary.
  3. Spread onto toasted slices of bread with a layer of cranberry sauce. Mmmm…

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Mint Iced Tea

There’s nothing like a cold beverage to refresh you on a hot summer day. One of my favorite is mint iced tea. I recently found mint leaf in bulk for about a dollar for two dry cups. I find the mint leaf by itself doesn’t have quite enough body for my liking, so I add in a little loose black tea. Sometimes I also use a little honey if I’m in the mood for something sweet. Iced tea is easy to make ahead of time, particularly for picnics. In fact, I think I’ll make some more for my July 4th festivities.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp mint leaf
  • 1 tbsp loose black tea
  • 32 oz water
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • ice

Tools:

  • kettle for boiling water
  • tea pot
  • enough jars for 1 quart of water
  • a fine mesh strainer or other sieve
  1. Boil the water. While the water is boiling, put the mint leaf and black tea in the tea pot.
  2. Pour the water over the tea and cover. Let it steep for at least ten minutes. You want strong tea since it will be diluted with water.
  3. If you want sweet tea, put about a teaspoon or so of honey in the bottom of your jar(s). The hot water will make it easier to dissolve the honey. When the tea has steeped, pour the tea slowly through the strainer and into the jar(s). If you added honey, be sure to give the tea a stir.
  4. Put the lid on the jar(s) and stick it in the fridge for later. Serve over ice. If you want to drink it immediately, I recommend putting it in the fridge for a least a few minutes with the lid off the jar to let out some of the heat.

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Oatmeal Treat

I wanted something different for breakfast this morning, but I didn’t want eggs since I’ll be eating a plethora of deviled eggs this afternoon. I concocted this yummy–and healthy–oatmeal, and it was quite satisfying.

Servings: 2 generous

Cooking time: 10 minutes, including time to boil the water

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I’m sure quick-cooking would be fine.)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp dried pineapple
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Put the water on to boil. This gives you time to measure out everything else.
  2. Add the oats and cranberries to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer. After about three minutes, add the pineapple and almonds. Continue cooking two to three minutes, or until thick. Stir in maple syrup and remove from heat.
  3. Serve in warmed bowls with a cup of coffee.

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How to eat rice for a week without getting ill

I am lucky enough to live in a place and have means such that I can make a statement like this title. I am very thankful for that.

I must admit that my life of privilege–despite my limited grad school income–has spoiled me, and I hate eating the same thing every day. One of my good friends can have the exact same thing every day for lunch and never tire of her turkey and cheese sandwiches. I envy the simplicity of packing such lunches.

Despite disliking repetitive meals, this is a busy time of year (when isn’t really), so I’ve been making large meals I can eat through the course of the week. This week, I made a big pot of rice on Monday, and I’ve been eating it different ways each day. Here’s what I’ve managed so far:

Monday: Rice and black beans with cheese. I like to make beans from scratch, but it was canned this time. What’s worse, I have class on Monday nights, so I packed a resealable, microwavable container with a layer of rice, a layer of rinsed beans and some salsa. I took shredded cheddar cheese with me in a separate container and added it after heating the rice and beans.

Tuesday: Sauted some julienned carrots in a touch of oil, then seasoned with garlic powder, ground ginger and pepper. I removed the carrots from the skillet, trying to leave most of the oil behind. Then I made some veggie potstickers in the skillet (frozen ones). While those were cooking, I heated up a bowl of rice. Then I mixed the carrots into the rice. Voila: rudimentary fried rice and potstickers. Tasty.

Wednesday: Farmer’s Market! Wednesday is my one break during the work week, so I did some real cooking tonight. I got some beet greens for free at the market today, and I had some leftover arugula that I wanted to use, so I created the recipe below. It’s different (black beans in Asian food…), but pretty good I think.

Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers. Recipe will follow soon.

Friday: Yet to be determined. Possibly rice and cheese quesadillas. Suggestions?

Asian Bitter Greens and Beans over Rice

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: One very large serving

Ingredients:

  • About 3 or 4 cups beet greens
  • 1-2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup carrots (when chopped)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small to medium garlic clove
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • small amount Asian chili sauce (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • dash ginger
  • dash ground pepper
  • one serving of rice
  1. Thoroughly wash the greens and shake out most of the excess water (I used a salad spinner). Tear any large pieces into smaller ones. (Be careful with the stems of the beet greens–they’ll turn your fingers pink just like the beets.) Mince the garlic. Julienne the carrots (tip: use baby carrots and chop lengthwise into 4-8 pieces depending on width of carrot). In a small bowl, mix together apple cider vinegar through pepper.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and carrots together for about two minutes, or when the carrots begin to get tender. Add beans and saute another minute or two. Meanwhile, reheat the rice if necessary. Add the beet greens and saute about two minutes before adding the arugula. Saute about two minutes more, or until all the greens are bright and wilted.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir the sauce again quickly, then pour over greens. Toss well. Serve over rice.

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