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Moroccan Stew, Mushroom Sloppy Joes, and Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli: This Is A Food/Recipe Post (open at your own risk)

Posted Aug 27 2009 9:42pm
I must be the most naïve blogger in the world. I had no idea it was a courtesy to put a “Food Porn” warning in the title if a blog entry mentioned food. I apologize to anyone who’s had food cravings or binges after reading one of my blogs.

Today’s entry is all about food. Healthy food, albeit, but food nonetheless. Binging on this stuff will only give you a really bad case of gas.

I love Taste of Home, particularly its Healthy Cooking Magazine. I found this recipe in the regular Taste of Home magazine, but it could easily have been in Healthy Cooking. It’s vegetarian, low fat, hearty and packs a great lemon-cinnamon punch. It’s my new favorite soup. And I don’t say this lightly since I’m a huge soup fan. This is really good stuff for 3 Points for a 1½-cup serving. My only advice: don’t overcook the potatoes.

(FYI: I substitute 2 cups of carrots for the butternut squash when husband Larry’s eating this since he isn’t a fan of the cucurbita moschata (I heart Wikipedia).)

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Ingredients:

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (or carrots)
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium red potato, cut into 1-inch cubes (1 cup)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (2 cups)
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 small zucchini, cubed
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

In a Dutch oven, sauté onion in oil and butter until tender. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon stick and chili powder; sauté 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the broth, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and squash are almost tender.

Add zucchini; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard cinnamon stick and lemon slices. Stir in cilantro. Yield: 9 servings (about 2 quarts).

Cauliflower & Broccoli

Here’s what I’ve learned about roasting cauliflower the right way (as opposed to my normal hurry-up-and-roast-already): Cauliflower TAKES TIME. It took me a year to figure this out. But taking time to do it right is well worth it.

I hate cutting up cauliflower. It’s like wiping off spitballs or Styrofoam on your cutting board – impossible to clean. Those little white florets stick to everything. But last week, using my hands instead of a knife, I broke the cauliflower apart into little pieces over my ceramic roasting pan to catch all the little white bits. Worked great! I threw in some minced garlic cloves, sprinkled some pepper and a tiny bit of seasoned salt on top, sprayed it all with Pam, and put it in a 375-degree oven.

After 20 minutes I tossed the mixture and set the timer for another 20 minutes. I tossed it again and set the timer for 10 minutes. I checked on it occasionally, but it took the full 50 minutes to be Lynn Done. Time and a lower temperature produced THE best roasted cauliflower I’ve ever had. I used to eat it after roasting it for 30 minutes thinking hard and chewy (in other words, RAW) was how I was supposed to eat it. But I’m not that raw kind of gal. I like my food caramelized, soft, dark, really cooked. I order my toast nearly burned, I like the “burnt” potato chips, and when I ate meat, I preferred chicken or turkey thighs.

My new-found knowledge about cauliflower applies to broccoli, too (however, I sliced it rather than rip it apart with my hands). I sprinkle it with pepper and garlic powder, coat it with Pam, and roast it for 20 minutes, after which I toss it again, give it another 20 minutes, then watch it and test it until it is Lynn Done. I throw on some parmesan cheese and called it dinner. Well…PART of dinner. Tonight I added this:

Portobello Mushroom and Bell Pepper Sloppy Joes

1 T. olive oil (or you can eliminate the oil and sauté the veggies in a bit of vegetable broth)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 small bell peppers (I prefer sweet red peppers)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 T tomato paste
1-2 T Worcestershire sauce (2 T will give you a nice tangy flavor)
1 t dried oregano
½ t Tabasco

Heat the oil (or broth) in a large skillet coated with cooking spray. Add garlic, pepper and onions. Cook until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms (and a little more broth) and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened and liquid is absorbed.

Add tomato sauce and paste, Worcestershire, oregano and Tabasco. Stir well. Cook until thickened.

Spoon mixture on to your favorite bread/bun/wrap/Arnold’s.

Makes 4 servings

I’ve missed sloppy joes. I haven’t had them since my ground-turkey-eating days. I knew I could substitute Boca or something like that, but I wasn’t real enthused about it (too much sodium). Then I saw this recipe in O Magazine last month. I tried it tonight and really liked it. My new motto: Give me veggies over fake meat any day.

So there you have it. My new favorite foods. None of them will bring about world peace, but they make me happy after a day of writing and fussing and running around. The veggies also make great breakfast side dishes. I love a good smoothie and some green tea and roasted broccoli before a workout. I used to eat 2 cups of Frosted Mini Wheats and drink a quart of orange juice and called myself healthy…

*shaking head*

Tomatoes are ripening everywhere so I bought some Romas and Big Boys at the farmer's market on the way home from P'burgh today. Tomato sauce and chili....you will be mine.
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