Monthly Archives: July 2012

An Old Favorite for a New Mama

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Well, I can only take partial credit for this one.  Here’s how this oh-so-easy couscous dish came together:

Many years ago, my good friend B invited Wife and me over for a dinner of couscous-and-veggie-stuffed roasted bell peppers–yum!  I refused to leave without the recipe, and Wife and I had the dish several times over the next few months.  The only problem was the labor involved–each bell pepper had to be carefully cut open and seeded, then propped upright to roast, then peeled, then propped upright again, then stuffed, then propped upright for further cooking–all without busting open the pepper. This process was messy and often less than successful, and the difficulty really didn’t do much to motivate me to cook instead of order take-out.

Enter the “deconstructed” version: Instead of roasting whole bell peppers, I chopped them and sauteed them with onion and garlic, then added them to couscous for a dish that is really delicious served hot or as a cold salad.  Still delish, but way less messy.

I made this today for my friends who just welcomed their beautiful daughter into the world!  They need healthful dinners for a speedily recovering mama, so I’m hoping they enjoy this very summery dish.

Couscous Un-Stuffed Peppers

1-2 bell peppers, any color(s), chopped

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup or so dry couscous (boxed & flavored or plain/whole wheat)

water and/or veggie broth

4 cups spinach, chopped

1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Saute your chopped peppers, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until slightly softened.  Set aside.

2. Cook your couscous.  If you’re using the flavored kind (Extra Lazy Version!), cook with water according to the directions on the package.  If you bought the non-flavored kind (Trader Joe’s has nice whole wheat couscous), use a water/broth combo. Example: if the package calls for 2 cups of liquid, use 1 cup water and 1 cup broth.  Cooking couscous generally involves boiling the liquid, then adding the couscous and immediately removing from heat.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.  So easy, and impossible to overcook!

3. Once your couscous has absorbed all the liquid, stir your chopped spinach into the prepared couscous.  You can do this in a big bowl if your couscous pot is small.  Do this while the couscous is still pretty warm so it wilts the spinach a bit.

4.  Add the peppers/onion/garlic to your couscous mixture and combine.

5. If you’re serving this sucker hot, serve it and top with the tomatoes.  If you’re serving it cold, let the mixture cool a bit, stir in the tomatoes, and refrigerate until it’s time to eat.

Note: If you’re eating with lacto types and not opposed to giving them the option, this salad is great with feta sprinkled on top.

Calories: middlin’, Fat: low, Easiness: quite, Awesomeness: 8 out of 10

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Mashed Cauliflower Soupishness

Miss me?!  Don’t look at me like that; this Lazy Veggie done got herself a JOB and, well, I’ve been busy.  Now I’m back!  How about you forgive me for going away and I forgive you for not repeatedly hitting refresh on this blog for the last 8 months?  Deal?  Word.

The inspiration for this comeback is twofold: First, and don’t freak out on me here, I got a Vitamix!!!  After years of whining about justifying the expense, my darling family couldn’t take it anymore and all chipped in to make it happen. Don’t worry; I have fun with the new machine, but this blog will remain dedicated to the ill-equipped (and lazy/busy/budget-conscious) veggies out there.

Second, I made this shockingly delicious and easy recipe the other day, and it not only surprised me with its tastiness, it provided me with two dinners and three lunches.  Unfortch, I gobbled each serving before I could manage to take a good picture, so let’s use our imaginations–just picture a giant pot of white mush, not quite as stiff as mashed potatoes, not quite as fluid as creamy soup.  It tastes better than it looks, promise…

Mashed Cauliflower Soupishness

2 medium-sized heads of cauliflower

1 32-oz carton of vegetable broth

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled

salt, pepper, dried basil to taste

1. Chop the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces.  Put it in a big pot with the garlic and the carton of veggie broth.  Add a little water if needed to bring the fluid level up, but no need to make sure it’s all completely covered–the cauliflower will settle a bit (and you can squish it while it cooks).

2. Turn on the burner and get it boiling.  Turn it down to a simmer for 15 minutes or so–they are ready for the next step when the florets are very tender. You want your fork to just slide right through the floret.

3. Drain the cauliflower and garlic, reserving a bit (maybe 1/2 cup) of the broth.

4. Add the cooked cauliflower to your blender (Did I mention my Vitamix?), along with the spices, and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add the reserved liquid if you need to, but I’m thinking you won’t–that cauliflower will be chock-full of broth from the pot.

5. Serve and enjoy!  I stirred in a bit more black pepper with each serving, which was really good and warming.

Extra-soupy option: Instead of draining your cooked cauliflower, leave it in the pot with the broth, add the spices, and puree it using an immersion blender.  Depending on how thick you like your creamy soups, you might want to pull out a cup of the broth before pureeing so you can add it back in as desired.

Calories: low, Fat: zero, Easiness: extreme, Awesomeness: 7 out of 10