Dutch Oven Vegan Paella

Dutch Oven Vegan Paella

Dutch Oven Vegan Paella

 

Some people may wonder how vegan paella could be flavorful without the addition of shellfish or meats. Believe me, it’s very tasty with all the garden vegetables! Maybe you also think, “I’d love to make this dish but I don’t have that special pan that cooks use to make paella.” Don’t worry on that account. You needn’t have a paella (the name of the pan) to make paella (the name of the food). An 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot will do very well. So where can the setbacks occur?

The 2 most likely problems that could happen when cooking this dish are: to overcook it and have mushy rice, or to undercook it and find hard grains of rice. The best tip for cooking this rice dish is to keep an eye on it. Stir the pot, as long as there is sufficient liquid, and once the rice starts to set-up keep the heat on medium-low. When the water is nearly absorbed, take a bite of the rice. Is it still hard? If so, you may need to set the heat to low, add a little more water and let it cook a bit more. When the rice is just slightly al dente and the water is absorbed, remove the pot from the flame, cover the paella with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Though it does call for a number of ingredients, cooking paella is easy, and your family and friends will be impressed.

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes                      Yield: 8 to 10                      Cook Time: About 50 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2-½ tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 medium-large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

½ pound fresh green beans, chopped to ½-inch lengths

1 large red bell pepper, chopped into ¾-inch pieces

1 cup frozen peas

1 large carrot, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 6-ounce jar artichokes

1/8 teaspoon saffron, loosely packed

2 bay leaves

3 cups short grain brown rice, (I use Lundberg’s Organic Short Grain Brown)

5- ¼ cups water, and up to an extra cup if needed

1 lemon – to garnish

 

Procedure:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven, or stockpot. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the garlic to the oil. Cook no longer than 1 minute, and then add the chopped onions and celery. Sauté them until they are tender, and then add the chopped tomatoes. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.

2. While the vegetables are cooking, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the saffron to the water and let it simmer about 3 minutes.

3. Place the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold water. Add the rinsed rice to the Dutch oven along with 4-¼ cups cool water, and the 1 cup of saffron water—with the saffron threads. Bring the rice to a simmer, cook over medium-low heat and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. After this time, stir the rice, and add the chopped carrots, green beans, and red pepper. Cook another 20 minutes, stir, and then add the peas and the artichokes and continue cooking.

4. Check for doneness as the rice cooks. Add extra water if needed. The paella should be done after 45 to 50 minutes.

 

This recipe is also posted at Full Plate Thursday, Foodie FridayDomesblissity and Pin Junkie

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Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Almonds, Leeks and Cranberries

Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Almonds and Dried Cranberries

Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Almonds, Leeks and Dried Cranberries

 

My first experience with quinoa, the blog group’s power food of the week, was about 8 years back. I had heard about all the marvelous nutritional benefits from quinoa so I made a special trip to the health food store to buy a box and bring it home. I cooked it up by itself, tasted it, but I didn’t like it. I just couldn’t get around that texture. It felt so foreign in my mouth and it took about three or four tries too get used to it. My husband had the same reaction too. We both love it now, and enjoy it as an alternative to brown rice. Rather than trying quinoa on it’s own as a side pilaf, it’s best to try it in a dish like today’s main course, Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Almonds, Leeks and Dried Cranberries, where the quinoa is mixed with lots of tasty goodies and it is delicious! It makes a great introduction to quinoa if you haven’t already tried it.

It may be a surprise to some people that Quinoa is a seed and not a grain, which makes it a good gluten free alternative to grains. It belongs to the same plant family as spinach and Swiss chard. It’s high in fiber, having 5.2 grams fiber per cup serving, and it’s a great source of protein because it contains all 9 essential animo acids. It’s also a great source of manganese, which activates enzymes responsible for key nutrients. I like it for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. And, cooking processes don’t seem to compromise the nutrients.

Unprocessed quiona is coated with saponin, a bitter lathery substance used in detergents to create foam. Although, the quinoa you buy has been “desaponized,” it’s still a good idea to put it in a sieve and rinse it under cold water before use.

Note The recipe below is a modification of one that I found at StacySnacksOnline, and she found the original recipe at the GlutenFreeGoddess.

 

Servings: 4 to 5           Prep Time: 20           Baking Time: 40 minutes

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

 Ingredients:

½ onion, chopped

1 cup white quinoa

2 leeks

1-½ pounds Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup almonds (blanced and split in half)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pre-cooked sausage, sliced (I use Aidells Cajun Style Andouille)

Parsley – to garnish

 

Procedure:

1. Prepare the vegetables: Peel off the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and discard them. Wash the sprouts, dry them, and then slice them along the length. Next, cut off the green tops from the leeks and discard them. Slice the leeks in half, wash them, dry them, and then chop them well. Next, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the Brussels sprouts, the leeks, and the garlic on a roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. After 20 minutes is up, add the sausage and continue baking. After 10 more minutes, turn off the heat, add the almonds, the cranberries, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir the mixture, cover the pan, and let it rest in the oven another 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Cook the quinoa: While the Brussels sprouts are in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pot and then add the onion and sauté it until it is translucent. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse with cold water, and then add it to the pot with 2 cups of water and a bay leaf, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook until all the water is absorbed—about 15 minutes. When the quinoa has absorbed the water, fluff it up with a fork and set it aside.

3. Peel the almonds: While the quinoa is cooking, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot, and then add the almonds and remove the pot from the heat to let the almonds soak for 5 minutes. Next, hold the large end of an almond and squeeze the nut through the pointed end of the skin until it pops out. Repeat until all the almonds are peeled, and then slice them in half lengthwise, through the side.

4. Put it all together: Place the quinoa in a large serving bowl and toss with the roasted vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

References:

Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients

The World’s Healthiest Foods

 

If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.

 

 

Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up!  Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots,  Casey –SweetSav  Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living,  Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits

This posted can be seen at Slightly Indulgent TuesdayFull Plate Thursday and Pennywise Platter

My Daily Bowl of Oatmeal

My Daily Oatmeal

My Daily Oatmeal

 

 

This week the 38 Power Foods blog group is talking about one of my favorite power foods: oatmeal. I read about the benefits of oatmeal in Dr. Dean Ornish’s book The Spectrum (see *note). In his book, Dr. Ornish promotes oatmeal for a healthy heart. With further study, I found that oatmeal is low in calories, high in mineral content, and it’s a good source of soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol. There is particular fiber in oatmeal called beta glucan that when eaten makes a glutinous gel that picks up cholesterol and carries it out of the body.

When my husband was diagnosed with high cholesterol we made a few changes in the diet. A daily bowl of oatmeal became standard for breakfast. We sweeten it naturally with raisins and mashed banana, and flavor it with cinnamon. For added protein we throw on a few nuts. It’s a delicious way to get healthier!

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, “Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.”

There are many choices when buying oatmeal. In my article Not All Oatmeal is Alike you’ll see that there may be other things you might be interested in knowing about your oatmeal, such as, Is it GMO free, organic, nut free, Kosher or gluten free?

If you haven’t eaten oatmeal since you were a kid, maybe it’s time you give it another try.

*Note – The Spectrum, Dr. Ornish’s book offers a flexible anti-inflammation diet to deal with many conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, type two diabetes, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and so on. I followed, and continue to follow his recommendations, for lessening the effects of RA, and my husband for high cholesterol. To say this is a diet is not exactly correct; it is more about getting into healthy-lifestyle habits.

 

Servings: 2         Cook Time: 7 minutes         Yield: 1-3/4 cup cooked oatmeal

Ingredients:

2/3 cup oatmeal (I use Coach’s Oats)

12 to 15 raisins

1 cup skim milk, or other milk

1 cup water

1 banana

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts

Cinnamon to taste

Procedure:

1. Place the oatmeal, raisins, milk, and water in a large uncovered 2-quart bowl. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the texture you like, and then stir in the mashed bananas when it is ready. If it is too dry you will need to add more water or milk.

2. Serve the oatmeal in cereal bowls and top with cinnamon and chopped nuts.

 

References:

Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients

The World’s Healthiest Foods

 

If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.

 

 

Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up!  Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots,  Casey –SweetSav  Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living,  Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits

This posted can be seen at  Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysFull Plate Thursday and Pennywise Platter

“Food Matters” and Popcorn

Food Matters Popcorn

Food Matters Popcorn

 

Hey there. Today’s recipe, believe it or not…popcorn. I’ve joined a group of bloggers who are dedicating one post each week to a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman. In case you haven’t got a clue about who he is, he is a food columnist for the New York Times, and he’s the author of How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and Food Matters. Maybe you know him from the PBS series On the Road Again, a food and travel show where the four hosts; Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Claudia Bassols, and Mark Bittman travel their way around Spain, eating incredible food wherever they go, while you sit watching from your sofa are wishing you were in their place. Yeah, that’s the guy—Mark Bittman.

Mark wrote Food Matters after he confronted his own health issues and made the change to eating healthy—he got healthy eating habits. Before the change, he was thirty-five pounds overweight, his blood sugars and cholesterol levels were up, he had sleep apnea, and he’d just had knee surgery. At the same time, he was learning about the connection between industrial livestock and global warming, and that the more industrial animals are raised, the more greenhouse gases are produced. He also recognized the ongoing health crisis in this country due to the standard American diet (SAD) in the form of record numbers of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and deaths due to heart disease. He thought that if people followed his example of eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and less meat, then there would be more people living well, and there would less global warming from greenhouse gases because fewer industrial livestock would be raised and consumed –that simple. Mark’s book Food Matters is a rational about why Americans should change their eating habits. His follow-up book, The Food Matters Cookbook offers some 500 recipes for healthy living.

Bittman isn’t not alone in thinking that people should make the change to eating healthy food. You may remember that I’ve made similar changes to my diet with very good results. Sarah from 20 something cupcakes and Kate from Cookie + Kate also feel they need to make some changes in their diet as well, so they decided to start by hosting this blogging group called The Food Matters Project. Each week Sarah, Kate, I, and others will be blogging one of Mark’s recipes. The host will change from week to week. The hosting blogger picks a recipe from the cookbook and the rest of the bloggers make it and link back to the host’s blog, where you will find the posted recipe. This week Kate of Cookie and Kate is the host and she chose Mark’s recipe for popcorn. She popped it up, and I did too. I made classic popcorn cooked in coconut oil and it tasted great! 

I am sharing this post with the Food Matters Project: hosted this week by Kate.

Recipe: Cocoa Oatmeal

Cocoa Oatmeal

Cocoa Oatmeal

If you told me a couple of years ago that I’d be eating oatmeal every day and enjoying it, I would have said, “Impossible.”  How can you eat the same thing every day and not get tired of it?

So, guess what –My husband and I eat oatmeal everyday and we enjoy it. It’s a heart healthy sugar-free breakfast that helps to lower cholesterol and it’s got a lot of fiber, which may help to prevent colon cancer. I use Coach’s Oats (no affiliation), as the glycemic index is lower than rolled oats and the cooking time is just 5-7 minutes, as compared to steel-cut oats.

To spice up the oatmeal, I add half a mashed banana per person, about 15 raisins, and then top it off with plenty of cinnamon, which is a great anti-inflammatory spice.Though I don’t tire of eating oatmeal, on some rare occasions my taste buds ask for something different. For these exceptional days I’ve come up with a cocoa oatmeal recipe; it’s delicious and there’s no sugar. According to Joy Bauer, writing for Today-MSNBC, cocoa powder has quercetin which is an anti-oxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory. So don’t feel guilty when you eat this sugar-free tasty cocoa oatmeal.

The directions below are for making with Coach’s Oats. You can use your own brand of oatmeal. Just heat the milk separately first and then mix with the cocoa powder to dissolve it; and then, cook as usual.

Ingredients: (for 2 people)

Oatmeal – 2/3 cup

Nonfat milk – 2/3 cup

Water – 2/3 cup

Raisins – about 25 to 30

2 level tablespoons dark cocoa, or 3 tablespoons regular cocoa

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 banana

*Optional toppings – 2 teaspoons orange zest, 1 tablespoon chopped nuts, 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut

*Tip – For orange zest, peel the orange with a potato peeler and then mince the peel with a chef’s knife. Make sure to peel the orange without getting the white portion underneath the peel.

Procedure:

1.)  Heat the milk and then stir the cocoa power into the warm milk to dissolve it. Then cook the oatmeal with the water, cocoa milk, raisins and a pinch of salt until the oatmeal is tender, 5-7 minutes.

2.)  While the oatmeal is cooking, mash the banana well. When the cereal is ready add the vanilla extract, the mashed banana, and your choice of the optional toppings.

Mireya

Related Post: 10 Tips for Healthy Eating Habits

This recipe is post at Simply Indulgent Tuesdays

Oatmeal on Foodista

Recipe: Delicious Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

Whole grain brown rice is a staple food for an anti-inflammation diet. It’s loaded with necessary B vitamins that are stripped in white rice. Brown rice has lots of fiber and it takes longer to digest than white rice, keeping you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time. And because there is more fiber, you fill up sooner, eating less rice. I know several people who reluctantly changed from eating white rice to eating brown rice and they were pleasantly surprised to find that they loved the nutty flavor, and that after a short time of eating whole grain brown rice, did not miss the white.

The following recipe for Brown Rice Pilaf is a standard around my house, and I like to make extra for easy lunches or to use in fillings in other dishes. It makes a great companion to chicken, turkey, lean beef, and sometimes fish. My preference is Jasmine Brown Rice, which I buy at my local Trader Joe’s. If I use another long grain brown rice, I sometimes add a touch more water for chewy rice. And depending on the dish that I’m making, I may throw in some fresh herbs, like parsley or rosemary. If you haven’t really given whole grain brown rice a chance, go ahead and try again. Your body will thank you!

Ingredients:

Brown Rice, 2 cups rinsed

1 small onion, chopped

Olive oil, 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon salt

Water, 2 ½ cups

1 bay leaf

Procedure:

1.) Sauté the onion in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. When the onion is transparent, add the water, rice, bay leaf and salt.

2.) As soon as it begins boil, cover the pot and lower the temperature on the stove to medium low. Cook 45-50 minutes, or until the water has evaporated. If the rice is too hard, add more water and cook until it is tender.

For Pressure cooker:  Follow step one, and then cover with the pressure cooker lid. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions and cook and medium low for 20 minutes.

Related Article: Why Use a Pressure Cooker?

Quinoa Pilaf with Pomegranate

Quinoa Pilaf with Pomegranate

Quinoa Pilaf with Pomegranate

Several years ago I bought some red or brown quinoa thinking it might be nice to try. Quinoa, unlike other grains, is a complete protein. As I don’t like to eat much meat, I thought it would be worth the try. Little did I know at the time that you should wash the grain before cooking it or it will taste bitter. I didn’t wash the grain and as you can imagine, whatever it was that I made didn’t get repeated, and I threw the rest of the box to the trash. But lately, quinoa a hot health food. And it’s not sold just in health food stores–it’s even available at my local grocery store. So yesterday, while I was browsing through websites, over at couscous-consciousness I found a challenge to come up with a recipe that used quinoa. I’ve been wanting to do something again with this healthy protein for some time now, so I took up the challenge. The following recipe, quinoa pilaf with pomegranate, is the result. I really enjoyed eating quinoa this time around! (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 cup white quinoa (A single grain is the size of a sesame seed, but while sesame is oval, quinoa is round)

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 ½  – 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 medium onion, chopped finely

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup chopped parsley

Procedure:

1.) Put the quinoa in a strainer and rinse it well with water.

2.) Heat the olive oil and add the onions to sauté until the onion is transparent.

3.) Add the quinoa, stir, then add the bay leaf and cover with the lid. Allow it to simmer on medium low until all the water has evaporated; this will be approximately 12 minutes. When all the water has evaporated, remove the pot from the heat. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to sit for 10-15 min.

4.) Just before serving add the chopped parsley and the pomegranate seeds.

This recipe makes a great accompaniment to grilled salmon. Stayed tuned for my next post.

Mireya

This recipe is posted at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and make it with … mondays, quinoa

Quinoa on Foodista