Spaghetti with Chickpeas (November 10, 2010)

In my pursuit of remaining unprocessed, I made this recipe. I made some modifications, as I will note. It was good. I really liked it, although I would add some additional pepper flakes and a few less chickpeas. I cooked chickpeas today from dried peas.

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas (I made them from the unprocessed blog, see below.)
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces) (I used bacon – because I didn’t have any pancetta.)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped (I roasted my own tomatoes, instead of canned tomatoes.)
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned; a splatter screen will make your stove look better than mine did after this. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass. (I did have to use the extra water from the pasta, as the chickpea mixture was pretty dry.)

Cooking chickpeas: I soaked the peas for several hours. After soaking, I put the peas in water with a stalk of celery, bay leaf, garlic, half an onion, and dried rosemary, thyme, and cilantro. After the peas come to a boil, reduce the temperature to simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. I put a bunch in jars and put it in the freezer, and I used some for the dish.

Roasting tomatoes: I learned this from Rick Bayless. I put four medium sized tomatoes in the oven under the broiler. I cooked them for about 5 minutes, took them out of the oven and put a towel over for about 5 minutes. Then I peeled the skin off and chopped them. I added them to the recipe as directed.


Tuscan Pumpkin White Bean Soup (January 7, 2010)

A recipe from Weight Watchers. And it’s actually good!

A splash of olive oil (the recipe calls for spray, but we opted for bit more)
1 medium onion
15 oz. canned pumpkin
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
15 1/2 oz. canned white beans, rinsed and drained (we used northern beans)
A few dashes of ground oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
6 tbs. Parmesan cheese

Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray and set over medium-low heat. Add onion, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Stir in pumpkin, broth, beans and oregano; simmer 8 minutes.

In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. (Note: Make sure not to overfill blender in order to avoid splattering.) Return soup to pot and reheat; season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

David: I would give it an A. It was very flavorful. It was very pumpkin-y. I was close to being too sweet, but I don’t think it was. Maybe a little more salt and pepper would help that. I would make it again, because it was easy.

Carla: I like it. I think it was very filling and flavorful. We served it with some rye bread (with rye flour from Canada) and couscous. I really liked it and I would make it again. A.

Black Bean and Corn Soup (September 27, 2009)

this one came from fanfare, a tailgate-themed cookbook i got for my birthday. i’ll be honest – i wasn’t sure what to think of the recipes in there, but this first one turned out surprisingly well. here we go:

1 lb dried black beans
1 qt chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotles in adobo, plus 1 tsp adobo sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup corn
juice from 1/2 lime
sour cream, cheese for garnish

1 – soak beans overnight, or for six hours.

2 – place beans and broth in pot; add water as necessary to cover beans (i didn’t really need to do this). bring to a boil, and skim off foam from top. add onions and garlic; lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.

3 – while simmering, place tomato, chipotles, and adobo in a food processor. pulse into a chunky blend. (i was generous with the peppers and adobo here; i put in 4, and a bit of extra adobo too).

4 – at the end of 15 minutes, add the tomato mixture, half the cilantro, the corn, and the lime juice. simmer until beans are soft, about an hour. at the end of this, add salt and remaining cilantro. serve with sour cream or cheese as garnish. (we didn’t have cilantro or sour cream, but did use some cheese).

it was a pretty simple, but very flavorful recipe. the chipotles seemed to be the element that really pushed it over the top. i bet the cilantro would have made it even better, too. hearty, enjoyable, and lots of leftovers to boot. a total success!

Cassoulet Style Chicken and Sausage (September 14, 2008)

3 medium carrots cut into 1/2 in pieces (1 1/2 cup – we used baby carrots)
1 medium onion chopped (1/2 cup)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine or water (we used water)
1/3 cup water
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t salt
1/8 t ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz fully cooked Polish Sausage cut into 1/4 in sliced.

1. In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker combine carrots, onions, tomato paste, wind and the 1/3 cup water, garlic powder, thyme, salt, cloves, and bay leaves. Add beans. Place chicken on bean mixture. Place sausage on chicken.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat 5 to 7 hours or on  high-heat for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Before serving discard bay leaves and skim off fat.

We served this over couscous.

David: I thought it was pretty good. But the spices were off a little bit. I am not sure if the thyme was off a little bit. I would have it again, but I would want to mess with the spices a bit. B
Carla: I like it. I agree with David in that the spices were a bit off, but not enough to make it terrible or uneatable. B

Black Bean Lasagna Rolls (September 15, 2006)

a delicious treat that we got from the internet, here.

* 8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
* 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
* 1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups drained canned no-salt-added black beans
* Cooking spray
* 1 (15.5 ounce) jar no-salt-added salsa
* Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.
2. Combine cheeses and next 3 ingredients, stirring well. Spread cheese mixture over one side of each noodle. Spoon black beans evenly over cheese mixture. Roll up noodles, jellyroll fashion, beginning at narrow ends.
3. Place lasagna rolls, seam sides down, in an 11- x 7- x 11/2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
4. To serve, spoon salsa evenly over rolls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

alas, we didn’t have any fresh cilantro on hand!

carla – i don’t remember. they were good, but not necessarily mexican or spanish (although it used salsa). it would’ve been fine with tomato sauce, or something more italiano. they were good – A-.

david – a little messy, and a little bit of too much work for the end result. i agree with carla – an alternate sauce (other than salsa) could have enhanced this dish a bit more. that said, they were pretty tasty, and a very pleasant diversion from the norm. i’ll also go with an A-.

Starting at the Very Beginning: Black Bean Burritos (August 15, 2006)

This will be a record of the dinners that David and I try. Here is the first one:

Black Bean Burritos

1 (12 oz) jar fat-free black bean dip (I used fat-free refried beans)
4 (10-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1 cup chopped tomatos
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
Salsa (optional)
Fat-free sour cream (optional) (I used cheese)

1. Spread evenly over tortillas (about 1/3 cup dip per tortilla). Sprinkle evenly with tomatoe, onion, and green pepper.

2. To serve, roll up tortillas. If desired, top with salsa and sour cream

4 servings

Was served with Mexican Rice

David: These were ‘licious. Simple, but tasty. B+
Carla: Very easy and good with some modifications. A-