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A Couple of Meat-Free Meals

Yesterday was our meat-free meal day, and we actually had two ideas for the meal, one I had planned, and then one my sister-in-law had suggested that sounded really good as well. My idea was Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions. it’s a great one pot meal, completely vegetarian if that’s what you are looking for, and very filling and satisfying.

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, plus 1 large or 2 medium onions, halved and sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups lentils, washed and picked over

6 cups water, vegetable, chicken or beef stock (your preference), warmed

1 cup long-grain rice

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onion and cook until it begins to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and some salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the lentils, stir, and add 4 cups of liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Add enough of the stock or water so that the lentils are covered by about an inch of liquid. Stir in the rice. Cover and turn the heat to low.

Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, cook the onion slices, stirring frequently, until they are dark brown but not burned, about 15 minutes. Scoop out the onions and let them drain on paper towels while you finish cooking the lentils and rice.

Check the rice and lentils after 20 minutes. When both are tender and the liquid is absorbed, the dish is ready. If the lentils and rice are not tender, add more liquid, cover, and cook for a few more minutes. If the rice and lentils are soft and there is much liquid remaining, raise the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, stirring, until it evaporates. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve, garnished with the caramelized onions and parsley.

The lentils and rice make for a very hearty meal. The second meal for meat-free night is Browned Cabbage and Noodles. Michelle loved the sound of this one so we thought we would give it a try.

Browned Cabbage and Noodles

3 pounds cabbage

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter

3 tablespoons grated onion

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound broad noodles, cooked and drained

Wash the cabbage and grate very fine. Mix in the salt and let stand for 2 hours. Rinse, drain and dry the cabbage (you could skip this step if you wanted and just go straight to cooking).

Melt half the butter in a deep large skillet or Dutch oven. Mix in the cabbage, onions, sugar and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 1/4 hours, stirring frequently. Add the remaining butter after 1 hour. Toss in the cooked noodles until thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

This recipe serves 6 to 8, so you can adjust the recipe down a bot if you are cooking for a smaller crowd, like I do. There’s not many ingredients in this one, but it does take some time to make it. It’s also a great one pot dish, and I really like those as it cuts down on the clean up afterwards.

So that was Wednesday’s meal, nice and easy. Check back later today for tonight’s meal of Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Fried Rice and Steamed Vegetables. It promises to be quite tasty. See you later!

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Belly Up to Some Black Bean Stew

It’s our meat-free meal for this week and today is some Black Bean Stew. This is a hearty and healthy dish, full of fiber with the black beans and butternut squash.This is a vegetarian dish, so you don’t have to make any alterations if you are trying to keep it as a vegetarian meal. I am planning to make some biscuits to go along with this meal as well. I’ve made the biscuits before, so if you would like to see the recipe for them, you can check here.

Black Bean Stew

1 cup dried black beans

4 cups water

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)

1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup lager beer, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Pick over the beans, discarding any misshapen beans and stones, and rinse well. In a large pot, combine the beans with cold water to cover by 3 inches. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Alternatively, for a quick-soak method, bring the beans and water to a rapid simmer (but do not boil), then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Drain the beans, place in a large saucepan and add the 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until almost tender but still quite firm, about 1 hour.

Add the onion and garlic to the beans, re-cover and continue to cook over low heat until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.

Cut the squash in half. Remove and discard the seeds, then peel the flesh. Cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Add the squash, pepper, oregano and beer to the pan. Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the squash and beans are soft but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately.

If you have the time to do the beans overnight, that’s probably the best way to go about it so they are ready to use the next day. This stew takes some time to cook, but I think it’s worth the effort for the taste you will get. It’s filling, tastes great, and makes the whole house smell good. Serving with the biscuits round out the meal nicely, but you could also serve this with a salad if you wanted to add something else to the meal.

There weren’t a lot of ingredients in today’s meal, but tomorrow has quite a few. I’ll be making Jambalaya tomorrow, and the recipe I use has 23 different ingredients in it, so I have my work cut out for me! It doesn’t take long to cook, it just has a lot of items in it so there is quite a bit of prep work involved. Check back tomorrow to see what’s in it. It is definitely worth it! Enjoy the rest of your day!

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Biscuits, Cooking, Dinner, Soups & Stews, Vegetarian

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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