Tag Archives: garbanzo beans

Wildcard Contest Winner ~ Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

4 Feb
Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

What better way to lead into the Mardis Gras celebrations than with a surprise Wildcard Contest Winner Cajun recipe over at Food52 website??? I’ve never been a finalist and contest winner with prizes, but at least with a Wildcard Win you get braggin’ rights, yes? I actually got awarded this three days ago, but have been so busy only just found out today. YAY! (With a wildcard win you get a nice note from the editors of the website on the recipe why they picked it.) 🙂

Linky to the recipe here ———–>  Cajun Roasted Chickpeas

We’ll see you again this weekend with a new recipe!

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Keema ~ A Taste of India

11 Apr
Keema  ~ A Taste of India

Keema ~ A Taste of India

About six years ago my employer decided that hosting an Indian Cuisine potluck would be a good idea for some newly hired employees from India who were training at our local office for an extended period of time. At that time, I had zero experience with Indian cuisine, so had asked one of the new hires for a recipe I could make for them. The next day I was handed a photocopy from an unknown cookbook. It was titled simply “Keema.” I made it for the potluck and remember it was a hit! But then it remained forgotten in my loose-leaf recipe archive (read “mess”) until last week.

I had obviously adapted it the first time around, as it had scratch outs, scribbles, and additions and substitutions written all over it. This time around, I decided to search it out on the internet. There are so many variations of Keema that I felt I had good liberty to basically “redo” it again to my family’s tastes as they are today. My new remake got two thumbs up from the family! My only regret was not buying some cottage cheese to serve on the side, as it makes a refreshing accompaniment to the meal. Since this made way too much for one meal, I went straight to the store the next day and bought cottage cheese for the leftovers. No leftovers were thrown out, I am glad to say!

This is traditionally made with ground lamb, but I used ground beef as a substitute, but you could use either one or a combination of the two. Make sure you use at least a 12-inch skillet, as this makes a LOT! Feel free to halve the recipe.

Keema

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons garam masala (I used dried Mild Curry #512, according to the bulk bin I bought it from)
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash table blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas
Lime wedges, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Cottage cheese, for serving

Ground Beef and Onions

Ground Beef and Onions

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or lamb with the chopped onion until evenly browned. Drain off any grease. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute more, then add the spices and combine.

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Add the the rest of the ingredients except the frozen peas and garnishes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. In the last five minutes, add the frozen peas and cook until heated through.

Keema Ready to Serve

Keema Ready to Serve

Serve over a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lime, and cilantro. Please add cottage cheese to the side as a lovely, refreshing side.

Keema

Keema

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Garbanzo Bean, Spinach, and Spicy Chorizo Frittata

2 Nov
Garbanzo Bean Spinach and Spicy Chorizo Frittata

Garbanzo Bean Spinach and Spicy Chorizo Frittata

I was planning on starting out my recipe with “Make sure you prep all your ingredients ahead of time, since this all comes together quickly.” I take my prep shot, then start cooking. Here is my photo:

Prepped Frittata Ingredients

Prepped Frittata Ingredients (or so I thought!)

Where, you may ask, are the garbanzo beans? DOH! OK here they are, late to the show:

The Elusive Garbanzo Beans

The Elusive Garbanzo Beans

After a quick rinse and drain, I measured out a cup and got them into the skillet with the cooked onions and garlic. Whew!

This is a protein-packed, quick and easy meal. YES, you heard me right. Another quick and easy meal, like under a half hour if you aren’t messing up taking photos without one of the star ingredients. This can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, OR an appetizer! Plus you can switch out the spinach with kale, or any other leafy green vegetable. Very versatile. If you don’t have an oven-proof or cast iron skillet (like in this closet kitchen I’m living with now) then you can do like me and stand there with the oven door open with the handle sticking out from under the heat source.

Setting the Top of the Frittata

Setting the Top of the Frittata

Good thing it turned cold today— I wouldn’t want to do that in the summer!

Garbanzo Bean, Spinach, and Spicy Chorizo Frittata
Adapted from Chickpea, Spinach, and Chorizo Frittata by Hadyourtea? from the Food52 website

1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced jarred roasted red pepper
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
4.5 ounces spicy Mexican pork chorizo (half of a 9-ounce package)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large handful fresh spinach
5 eggs, beaten (or 4 if Jumbo sized)

Pork chorizo can be substituted with soy chorizo if you want this meatless. You can also freeze the rest of the garbanzo beans for a later use in a soup or stew!

Cook the onion in an oven proof or cast iron skillet in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 or so minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, just a minute or so more.

Add the red pepper, chickpeas, and smoked paprika. Add the chorizo, breaking it up with a spoon as you add it.

Sauteeing the Chorizo and Veggies

Sauteeing the Chorizo and Veggies

Sauté everything together until the paprika oil runs from the chorizo and it is cooked through at least 5 minutes or more.

Add the spinach and keep stirring until it wilts. Add the eggs and stir gently to incorporate into the mixture. Stop stirring and allow the eggs to set over the heat.

Setting the Bottom of the Frittata

Setting the Bottom of the Frittata

Turn your oven on broil, then slide the skillet under the broiler to set the top. This will only take a a few minutes, so keep an eye on it! Remove from the oven carefully with hot pads, then gently loosen from the edge of the skillet with a knife. Place a large plate over the skillet and invert the frittata onto it. Then place another plate on top and invert once again. Allow to cool slightly before slicing. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa, or just eat as is!

Garbanzo Bean Spinach and Spicy Chorizo Frittata

Garbanzo Bean Spinach and Spicy Chorizo Frittata

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Chickpea Bolognese

16 Apr
Chickpea Bolognese

Chickpea Bolognese

I entered one of my chickpea recipes in Food52’s most recent recipe contest, and was once again selected as a Community Pick Testing finalist! Here is the link to the finalists: Food52 Community Pick Recipe Testing

Mine is the “Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style” recipe in the list. My lovely photo of them for you viewing pleasure:

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

When I saw the other recipes that needed testing, I quickly glommed onto the Chickpea Bolognese. I just love chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and figured this would also be something my family would enjoy for dinner.

While I usually don’t test a recipe that is competing against mine, I thought well why not? We are all cooks in this together and I don’t mind at all offering my feedback to the other contestants.

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to use only 3 tablespoons of olive oil instead of 4, I simmered it for an hour and a half instead of 1 hour, and did not add any salt since the pancetta and tomatoes added plenty of salt.

This was lick-your-plate good and quite easy to make! And don’t skimp on the fresh basil! I also got two thumbs-up from the family. Plus I have enough leftover for another meal for the freezer for our “nobody feels like cooking dinner” nights. Win-win!

My changes (and additional notes) to the original recipe are in italics below.

Chickpea Bolognese Ingredients

Chickpea Bolognese Ingredients (I forgot to include the dry herbs in the photo)

Chickpea Bolognese
From Food52 website Chickpea Bolognese by inpatskitchen

Author Notes: I love a good Bolognese and often make it with a variety of meats, including ground turkey as an alternative to pork, veal or beef. This time I gave it a shot with chickpeas and it turned out rather well…  — inpatskitchen

Serves about 6

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 medium onion, rough chopped
1 medium carrot, rough chopped (I only had baby carrots so used a handful of those)
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 ounces pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling (I used 3)
3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15 ounce cans drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but oh so good!)
One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (or other good plum tomato) (I used organic Muir Glen)
1 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
A nice handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Parmesan cheese for finishing
Salt and black pepper to taste (I didn’t use salt)
1 pound dried pasta, cooked al dente (I used Mostaccioli)

Pour the cup of boiling water over the porcini and let “steep” for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pancetta in the bowl of a food processor and process until not quite smooth. (I only have a two-cup processor so had to do it in batches.) You want a little texture here.

Food-Processor Vegetables

Food-Processor Vegetables

Heat the 4 (or 3) tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and add the chickpeas. Saute over medium heat for a few minutes, making sure the chickpeas are coated with the oil. Add the processed mixture and continue to sauté until the vegetables soften and become fragrant.

Chickpeas and Vegetables

Chickpeas and Vegetables

Add the basil, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes and continue to sauté another minute or two. Remove the porcini from the soaking liquid and chop finely. Add them to the pot. Strain and reserve the liquid.

With your clean hands, crush the tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the wine and porcini soaking liquid. Bring up to a simmer and simmer, partially covered for about an hour (I simmered for 1 1/2 hours). Stir occasionally.

Tomatoes and Mushrooms Added

Tomatoes and Mushrooms Added

After an hour (or more) , use an immersion blender (I used a regular blender and blended about half of it) to break down about half of the chickpeas. Add the light cream and bring back up to a simmer. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Off the heat, stir in the torn basil leaves.

Serve over pasta garnished with Parmesan and drizzled with a little olive oil.

Note: If you want to make this vegetarian, omit the pancetta but you might need to add some salt.

Chickpea Bolognese

Chickpea Bolognese

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Sausage and Garbanzo Beans in a Spicy Tomato Herb Sauce

16 Oct
Sausage and Garbanzo Beans with Tomatoes in a Spicy Herb Sauce

Sausage and Garbanzo Beans with Tomatoes in a Spicy Herb Sauce

Well. This meal got totally mixed reviews. My daughter loved it. My husband didn’t like my choice of sausage but really enjoyed the spicy bean sauce and herbs, and ate mostly that. I found it middle ground because of my choice of sausage. I  liked it OK, just OK. But that is what cooking is about. Experiment! Next time I will make this with standard smoked turkey sausage or Kielbasa, and my husband agreed it would be outstanding with that instead of this fancy-schmancy stuff I bought.

I got the idea for this dish from a blog I follow, TasteFood:   Mediterranean Smoked Sausage, Tomato and Chickpeas. She has some fabulous recipes. Why oh why didn’t I use standard smoked sausage for this? I will tell you why.  I was in Target in their new upgraded store with a food section, and saw these and thought, “Wow! I wanted to make this recipe I just saw on a food blog site, but how neat to make it with this instead!” It was touted with all natural, no preservatives, yada yada. And spinach and garlic! Winner! (not)

Sausage Tomato Herbed Spiced Garbanzo Bean Skillet Ingredients

Sausage Tomato Herbed Spiced Garbanzo Bean Skillet Ingredients

I was also excited to use a canned jar of my tomatoes, and I scrounged in my herb garden to get the last of my herbs for this. I got some fresh tarragon, but my basil plants had frozen overnight and looked horrible, my cilantro had expired long ago, but luckily had some store-bought cilantro in the fridge. For this recipe, just use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand (parsley, basil, cilantro, etc.) or use dried, which is always acceptable when you don’t have fresh. It’s not like we all have greenhouses in our backyard.

So that’s the back story. Now I present the recipe, but I shall suggest smoked sausage (turkey, Kielbasa, or otherwise) instead of ground chicken and spinach froo-froo stuff. ‘Nuff said,

Sausage and Garbanzo Beans in a Tomato Herb Sauce

Smoked sausage of preference  (hint, hint)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2  tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 can of tomatoes, your own homemade, or store bought
2 tablespoons of minced fresh herbs, any kind (halve that if they are dried)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste

Slice your sausage on a diagonal, to look cool for a photo, or just slice it normal in about 1/4 inch slices. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet on medium heat, then add the sausage, with a about a 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook until the water evaporates. Now it’s just a test of patience to get the sausage browned to your liking.  Uncover, and using tongs, flip the sausage over and over until you are satisfied with the outcome. I’m impatient. You would only have to flip them once if you are not.

Garlic Spinach Chicken Sausage in Skillet

Garlic Spinach Chicken Sausage in Skillet (I was finally satisfied)

Once the sausage is done to your liking, remove to a paper-toweled plate and set aside. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions start to soften. Now add the chicken broth (or wine, I wish I had some!) to deglaze the pan.  Simmer that for about 5 minutes until the liquid reduces about in half. Now add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes with liquid (drain off any unusually large liquid amount if homemade canned type), the herbs and the crushed red pepper flakes. You can sub in cayenne pepper if you don’t have that on hand.

Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Herb Mixture

Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Herb Mixture

Smoosh the tomatoes down if you used homemade, or you are home free if you uses canned diced tomatoes. Stir and simmer that all around until it looks nice and thick and yummy, and don’t forget to grind a bunch of black pepper over it, to taste. Now add the sausage and simmer until heated through, just a minute or so. This can be served  over couscous, rice, or pasta, or like I did with Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (no I am not paid to endorse that) or just eat as is! This really is a simple and great weeknight meal idea with very few ingredients.

Chicken Sausage in Tomato Garbanzo Mixture

Chicken Sausage in Tomato Garbanzo Mixture

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

18 Sep
Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Hey, I finally caught a salmon on my line! (And… he got away, boo hiss.) But it was fun and exciting, nonetheless. So you may have noticed I didn’t do a weekend post, because, well, I was gone fishin’! But the night before we left I made these crazy-good stuffed bell peppers, and I think we’ve found our new-favorite vegetable stuffing. I was perusing through Trader Joe’s last week and noticed this package of Harvest Grains. It sounded so delicious, with couscous, quinoa, orzo pasta, and teeny garbanzo beans. Wow! What a bunch of cool grains and stuff all in one package! And the flavors were just wonderful. So much better than plain old white rice.

Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes

Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains, Red Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes

I decided I would make my roasted bell pepper recipe using this instead of rice, and yowza, what a hit with the family! Seconds for everyone. I thought I had some ground turkey in the freezer, and I was going to be really healthy using that instead of ground beef, but alas, it turned out to be a package of ground pork (plain, not breakfast-type.) Well, what the heck, I used that instead. I also used some of my tomatoes from our hanging tomato plant experiment, which are coming in fast and strong. Now if I can only ward off the frost until I get most of them harvested, as it’s cooling down quick in my neck of the woods. I hope you enjoy this, and if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you can substitute rice, but I would simmer it longer and use more liquid.

Simmering Bell Pepper Stuffing

Simmering Bell Pepper Stuffing

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

2 large red bell peppers (or 3 or 4 if you want all the stuffing inside)
1 pound ground  fresh pork (or turkey or beef)
1/2 cup onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (or rice)
3/4 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes and liquid, or 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cut 1/2 inch tops off of the bell peppers, and dice the tops up except for the stems. Clean and rinse the inside of the peppers and place with small amount of water in covered microwavable dish. Microwave for five minutes and let rest until ready to stuff.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Ready for Oven

Stuffed Bell Pepper Ready for Oven

In a very large frying pan, sauté the ground pork (or turkey or beef) along with chopped pepper tops, onion and garlic until your meat is browned. Drain. Add the rest of ingredients except cheese and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the Harvest Grains are done, about 15 minutes. (Longer if using rice.) Stir in half the cheese.

Stuff the peppers with mixture and place in a lightly oil-sprayed casserole dish, and spoon the extra stuffing around the peppers. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top and bake 5 minutes longer. Dinner is served!

My Recipe is a Food52 Community Pick Candidate!

24 Jun

I got back last night from a week in Texas for a family reunion, and was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my recipes was not only chosen to be tested as a Community Pick candidate for a Food52 recipe contest, but they also used my photo in the announcement! I probably won’t have a new recipe for you until later this week, but in the meantime here is a re-post of the original recipe below, and a link to the version I submitted to the contest. Just click on my photo in the link below to get to the contest version.

Food52 Community Picks Recipe Testing — Road Trip Snacks

I must confess I enjoyed that week off without cooking, and the Tex-Mex and BBQ I ate in Central Texas, both restaurant and homemade, were simply outstanding! I think some days I ate Tex-Mex for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing some recipes inspired by what I ate very soon. 🙂

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

OK so I finally jumped on this bandwagon. After seeing so many pics of it on Pinterest I just had to make these. I promised myself the next bandwagon I’m going to jump on is Kale Chips. I’m still leary of that concept (better than potato chips!!!!) but one never knows. Some claims on Pinterest really are true, but you have to weed through all those exclamation points and eventually just try something yourself to see if it’s true. Now I must confess, these are really, really, really good!!! (See, a triple!) In fact, they were so good, I ate almost the entire batch in one sitting. I shamefully offered my daughter about five of them left in the bowl when she got home from school.

The possibilities of this recipe are endless. I decided to do a low-salt Cajun twist on these, although I didn’t have to do the no salt route since my hubby got to taste nary a one of these by the time he got home. I looked at the ingredients on the back of my Cajun spice jar, then just started adding those ingredients to olive oil (minus the salt plus just a few other tweaks, like fake-shake cheese), then included some lime juice too because, well, lime is a Cajun ingredient, right? And citrus also makes up for a lack of salt in taste. However, if you want to make this easy-peasy style, just use a tablespoon of  your store-bought Cajun seasoning instead of the  other spices, and the world will be fine.

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas... drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas… drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (the green can stuff I call fake-shake)
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon regular paprika
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
Lots of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the garbanzo beans. OK chickpeas, if you will. My cans say garbanzo, but most of the recipes say chickpeas. It will be kind of thick and pasty. If you think it’s too thick, just drizzle in a little more olive oil. I’m not an exact measurer. Toss in the garbanzo beans, and mix around real well to coat. Spread the beans in one layer across a foil-lined baking sheet, and place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove and mix around and place back in oven. Cook for another 10 or 15 minutes, but check about every five minutes to make sure they aren’t burning, since ovens vary so much. Mine started to get pretty black on the bottom after 30 minutes total so took them out then. Some of them were super crispy like corn nuts, and others were just crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I kind of liked the combination. I’ve seen variations of this making them sweet with cinnamon and sugar, and others using fresh herbs such as rosemary. You can really make them with anything! Taco seasoning? Why not? Go treat yourself and make a fun, healthy snack!

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

16 Mar
Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

OK so I finally jumped on this bandwagon. After seeing so many pics of it on Pinterest I just had to make these. I promised myself the next bandwagon I’m going to jump on is Kale Chips. I’m still leary of that concept (better than potato chips!!!!) but one never knows. Some claims on Pinterest really are true, but you have to weed through all those exclamation points and eventually just try something yourself to see if it’s true. Now I must confess, these are really, really, really good!!! (See, a triple!) In fact, they were so good, I ate almost the entire batch in one sitting. I shamefully offered my daughter about five of them left in the bowl when she got home from school.

The possibilities of this recipe are endless. I decided to do a low-salt Cajun twist on these, although I didn’t have to do the no salt route since my hubby got to taste nary a one of these by the time he got home. I looked at the ingredients on the back of my Cajun spice jar, then just started adding those ingredients to olive oil (minus the salt plus just a few other tweaks, like fake-shake cheese), then included some lime juice too because, well, lime is a Cajun ingredient, right? And citrus also makes up for a lack of salt in taste. However, if you want to make this easy-peasy style, just use a tablespoon of  your store-bought Cajun seasoning instead of the  other spices, and the world will be fine.

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas... drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas… drool

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (the green can stuff I call fake-shake)
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon regular paprika
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
Lots of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the garbanzo beans. OK chickpeas, if you will. My cans say garbanzo, but most of the recipes say chickpeas. It will be kind of thick and pasty. If you think it’s too thick, just drizzle in a little more olive oil. I’m not an exact measurer. Toss in the garbanzo beans, and mix around real well to coat. Spread the beans in one layer across a foil-lined baking sheet, and place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove and mix around and place back in oven. Cook for another 10 or 15 minutes, but check about every five minutes to make sure they aren’t burning, since ovens vary so much. Mine started to get pretty black on the bottom after 30 minutes total so took them out then. Some of them were super crispy like corn nuts, and others were just crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I kind of liked the combination. I’ve seen variations of this making them sweet with cinnamon and sugar, and others using fresh herbs such as rosemary. You can really make them with anything! Taco seasoning? Why not? Go treat yourself and make a fun, healthy snack!

Paprika Spinach and Garbanzo Beans with Brined Smoked Pork Roast

11 Nov
Wilting the Spinach in Garbanzo Beans

Wilting the Spinach in Garbanzo Beans

My husband decided to smoke some of the salmon and steelhead we had in our freezer and made a big batch of brine. So he decided to try his hand at brining a pork roast too and smoking it after the fish was done. What a great idea! He basically followed the brining recipe here: How to Smoke a Salmon. He smoked the pork for quite a long time, but I was busy cleaning the house and didn’t pay much attention to the process, sorry! I was also getting tired of our same-old same-old side dishes, so set out to find something new and different to serve with the pork. I found a fabulous recipe on Cooking Light for spinach and chickpeas (I call them garbanzo beans, same thing) but of course I didn’t have most of the ingredients. And of course, I adapted it with what I had. Cooking is not a science, really! (OK, maybe baking is but you know where I stand on that. Too precise for me!) All you have to do is consider the basic flavors of what is asked for in the recipe (besides the main ingredients) and scour your fridge and pantry for substitutes. It usually always works. Usually. Really. 🙂

Paprika Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

Paprika Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

Paprika Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1  can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 package fresh spinach (9 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 half lemon

Brined Smoked Pork Roast

Brined Smoked Pork Roast

Heat a large skillet to medium and add the olive oil and onions. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook about 5 more minutes until the onion is soft. Add the paprika and cook for a minute or two longer. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and garbanzo beans. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. I also smashed some of the chickpeas with the back of my spatula to help thicken the broth.  In batches, add the spinach and stir and cook until it is wilted. Add the rice wine vinegar and lemon juice, mix it up a bit, and serve. A very filling, tangy and spicy yummy side dish!

Oh, and if you want to see how I subbed all the ingredients, here is the original recipe:  Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

7 Oct
Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

“Mom, this is the best soup you’ve ever made — and I don’t even like soup that much!” Wow. That was a surprise comment from her as she was finishing her first bowl of this tasty, filling soup while sopping up the last of the broth with a thick slice of crusty French bread. Fall has arrived and the nights are getting downright brisk (read freezing) and this is my soup-making time of year. I had a package of Italian-seasoned ground turkey in the freezer that I bought on a whim a few weeks ago. My husband was certainly skeptical of this particular purchase, since the very first meal I ever made for him was a complete disaster using this type of meat. I had unfortunately bragged up front to him about how much I loved to cook and was going to make him a delicious “healthy” dinner. I also decided to use our trusty old grill back then too, and at that point in time I did not have much grilling experience either. Long story short, he was served a meal of burnt, crumbled turkey burgers, of which half the burger fell through the grill because I didn’t use any binder in the meat. I was also unaware that turkey burger is so lean that it does not grill up well without it. ANYWAYS, last night his confidence was restored in my ground turkey-making skills with the soup. He also went back for seconds. This is definitely one soup I will keep in my rotation. The flavors just explode in your mouth and the varying textures make every spoonful a delight.  I hope you agree.

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds Italian-seasoned ground turkey (I used Jennie-O brand)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped baby carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Black pepper to taste
5 to 6 cups homemade beef broth (or low sodium if using box/canned)
1 can low sodium petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 6 to 9 ounce bag of spinach, coarsely chopped
Shredded Parmesan cheese

In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high and add the ground turkey, onions, carrots, garlic and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until all the meat and vegetables have released their moisture and the ground turkey starts sticking a little,about 15 minutes. This ensures the turkey is cooked all the way through, as it doesn’t really “brown” much like burger does. Add the beef broth, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 more minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Now add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese, and bring back to a simmer for a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted. You can eat this now, or cover and keep warm until ready to serve. I made this a couple of hours before dinnertime because my husband was out golfing and wasn’t quite sure when to expect him home (the course had a “frost delay”), but I knew he’d be mighty hungry when he got in. He barely made it back before dark, and just as I suspected, he was ready to eat! We sliced up some warm, buttered French bread and added shredded Parmesan cheese to the soup for garnish. Heavenly delicious!

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