Foolproof Chickpea Curry

I made this recipe today for two of my bridesmaids before heading out to do some wedding shoes/centerpieces/jewelry shopping. (Which was very successful! Although took almost 4 hours – these girls have the patience of saints.) Maid of honor is vegetarian and was coming straight from work, so I knew I needed to feed her well. I’m always looking for more vegetarian recipes for my repertoire, especially ones that are not pasta-based, since I eat so much of that already. Enter: chickpea curry.

chickpea curry

Chickpea Curry

(adapted from The Sweets Life)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • approximately 5-6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4  cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

Pour olive oil into skillet over medium heat; after it warms, add in all the diced onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until clear-ish. Sprinkle garam masala over onions and stir well to coat evenly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts.

Remove from heat and mix in Greek yogurt along with salt. Add fresh cilantro and serve over hot cooked rice.

Notes

Easy as that! Probably one of the fastest, least-fussy curries I have ever made. I kind of wished I’d made naan to go with it instead of rice though. I also completely forgot the cilantro! I just have dried cilantro around, but next time I will be sure not to forget that step. Sometimes I feel kind of iffy on Greek yogurt, but it is PERFECT here; adds just the right amount of creaminess to every bite. Mmmm. Try this one and let me know how you like it!

P.S. Allow me to emphasize – as with every other Indian dish I’ve posted, this is NOT spicy. You can add chilies or whatever to make it spicy if you want to, but as written, it’s safe for literally every palate.

Advertisements

Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna has always intimidated the crap out of me. So many steps! So much patience required! Consequently, for a very long time now I have put off making it, despite having more than one serviceable recipe at my disposal. But tonight I did it. It definitely did not turn out perfectly, but it does taste really good and that’s what counts. I’ve never placed a lot of importance on the appearance/attractiveness of food. What’s the point? I’m eating it, not gazing at it framed in a museum.

Case in point.

Case in point.

Spinach Lasagna

(adapted from Easy Lasagna Recipes, via Pinterest)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (or if you’re feeling really hedonistic, whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 box uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach (thawed, obviously)
  • 4 1/2 cups chunky tomato/marinara type of sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gouda or Swiss cheese (slices may be used – I did)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

Spread about 1 cup of the tomato/marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place uncooked lasagna noodles in a row across the pan. Combine ricotta and parmesan together in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper as you like, and then spread about 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Top the cheese with the thawed chopped spinach and spread around liberally. Repeat the process until you run out of lasagna noodles. There should be a row of lasagna noodles on top when you run out, but I didn’t manage that for some reason, and in my opinion it’s not that crucial.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. When the time is up, take the pan out and add your grated or sliced Gouda or Swiss. (I cannot STAND Swiss cheese so the Gouda was a no-brainer for me.) Put back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown on top.

Notes

Lots to say here. The lasagna noodles I had (Market Pantry brand from Target, whoohoo!) were about an inch too long to fit neatly in my pan so I kept having to break them and trying to keep them somewhat uniform. Obnoxious.

More bothersome – I really don’t know why this recipe calls for frozen chopped spinach. Just convenience I guess? Frozen chopped spinach is pretty bland and unappetizing, if you ask me, and I think fresh spinach would have greatly improved this dish, even though it was still very yummy as written.

The choice between Gouda and Swiss is strange to me also; both seem too sharp to really go with the creamy goodness that is ricotta. The Gouda slices on top were okay, but it was kind of an odd combination for me. I’m not sure what I’d substitute. Whatever it would be, I would probably use the grated or shredded varieties instead of slices, just as a reluctant nod to the dish’s final aesthetics…

Anyway, despite its flaws, I really liked this lasagna and I will definitely be making it again, with the aforementioned tweaks. If you try it, let me know how it goes for you!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Three posts in four days?!? Man oh man. I guess I’m taking to this blogging thing more than I thought I would – plus, it motivates me to actually cook stuff. Today we have another rather non-glamorous dinner, but it felt right for today, after eating a heavy Easter lunch at my grandma’s…although, truth be told, this soup is somewhat on the rich side, rather heavy on the butter and cheese. No surprise I like it so much.

This is actually also another slow cooker meal. I feel like I use crockpots in a different manner than most people – it’s supposed to be a convenience, a “throw it all in in the morning and come home to dinner all ready” but as I’ve mentioned, I don’t pull that off too often. Apparently I use it more on the weekends. Anyhoo…let’s get to it.

tbps

This soup doesn’t photograph well…sorry.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

(adapted from PinFoody)

Ingredients

  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 32 oz box vegetable broth
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups half-and-half, room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add first 8 ingredients (through the bay leaf) to the crockpot and stir well. Cook on LOW for 5-7 hours.

About 45 minutes before you want to serve, prepare what the fancy folks call a “roux”: melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes. Pour a cup of the hot soup into the skillet and mix; add three more cups and stir. Pour it all back into the crockpot and add parmesan cheese and warmed half-and-half. Stir everything well; you might need to add more seasoning since the soup has been cooking for so long.

Cook it for another 30 minutes on low. Serve with a baguette warm from the oven. This soup is freaking fantastic for bread-dipping.

Notes

I personally feel the baguette/other similar bread is a crucial accompaniment. That’s really about it!

Minestrone Soup

V and I are watching “Chopped” on the Food Network. We’ve literally never watched anything on the Food Network before, but whaddaya know, it’s really enjoyable! And…stressful! You wouldn’t think it’d be that interesting or that dramatic, but it totally is, and they’re using all these crazy ingredients I’ve never heard of. Mamey? (apparently a fruit) Duck tongue? Okay I know what duck tongue IS, but…

Anyway – not relevant. We are a little more humble here at Sconnie Sustenance. Minestrone is pretty damn humble and is insanely easy to make. It’s kind of my go-to dinner when I a) don’t have a lot of food in the house, b) don’t want meat and c) want something healthy. Fortunately, these are all ingredients I pretty much always have on hand.

minestrone

Minestrone Soup

(adapted from Cookie Monster Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 32 oz box of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you don’t care about keeping it vegetarian)
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into quarters
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup dried elbow macaroni (or shells, or something similar)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • as much grated parmesan cheese as you please

Directions

Heat the oil in a large deep pot. While it warms, chop up your onion and then add to the pan, along with the garlic. Swirl it around so as not to burn.

Pour in the box of vegetable broth and can of diced tomatoes. Add diced carrots, sliced zucchini, and chopped celery as well as the basil, oregano and sugar. Put the lid halfway on the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes is up, add the elbow macaroni and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

Finally, add in your drained and rinsed black beans and salt and pepper. Stir it up good and pour into bowls. Now, this next part is my personal favorite: shake as much parmesan cheese as you want over that bowl. It probably goes without saying that I prefer a heavy hand with the parm. It’s all the better if you buy a quality bag of grated parmesan.

Notes

The original recipe also called for 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. The first time I made the recipe, I followed those directions and did not care for the taste the balsamic vinegar imparted on the soup. Too tart. I really don’t recommend using it.

Also, the original recipe did not include any celery, I just added that because I had some I needed to use up. And it called for 5 cups (40 oz) of vegetable broth, but the package of broth boxes that I get from Costco come in 32 oz containers, and 32 oz has worked just fine for me thus far.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

Creamy rotini with grape tomatoes & spinach

This is the meal you cook when you don’t have a lot of time, or a lot of motivation, but are resistant to the idea of busting out the blue Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese box/ordering pizza/just saying “oh f*ck it” and eating ice cream out of the container. Not that I have ever done any of those things.

photo

Creamy rotini with grape tomatoes & spinach

(adapted from The Comfort of Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • a few squirts of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb rotini pasta
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. While waiting, pour olive oil into a good-sized skillet and turn heat to medium. Add minced garlic and allow to soften. Pour in heavy cream* and lemon juice, adding salt and pepper to your liking. Stir together and turn the heat up to high so the liquid will boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat to low and cover the skillet, allowing the liquid to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add rotini to boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Once 10 minutes are up, the pasta should be done cooking as well. Drain it and place immediately back into pot on low heat. Pour cream mixture over pasta, cover, and allow to sit for a few minutes. Then add chopped grape/cherry tomatoes, parmesan, and chopped spinach, stirring together. Cover again and toss the whole thing around vigorously so it mixes properly.

Notes

*The heavy cream. I realize this isn’t the healthiest of ingredients, so tonight when I made it, I thought I’d try subbing Greek yogurt. They say you can substitute Greek yogurt for practically anything! Yeah…it didn’t work so well. When I got to the simmering step, it looked kind of lumpy and curdled and frankly did not smell great. Sooo perhaps this is not a recipe where Greek yogurt subs well.

Another note on the heavy cream. After my Greek yogurt disaster, I realized I only had about 1/2 cup of heavy cream. I went ahead with it anyway and it turned out all right; not as decadent and creamy as it is with a full cup, but definitely satisfactory. You can go that route if you’d like.

Start to finish, this recipe takes approximately 20 minutes. And it’s fabulous.