Purple People Eater?

eggplantNah, it’s something purple that people can eat. ;-)

Perusing the Kraft Food website one day, I felt inspired by one of their recipes for Eggplant Parmesan. Unlike most recipes for this meatless dish, this recipe doesn’t require breading and frying the eggplant. Chock-a-block with mushrooms and fresh eggplant, it has a rich taste, but isn’t heavy at all.

Every time I make this dish, I marvel at how I could have forgotten how good it tastes.

Much to my surprise, it turns out that eggplant is 1) technically a berry and 2) is a member of the deadly nightshade family! :-o

Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a species of nightshade commonly known in British English as aubergine and also known as melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. It is known in South Asia, Southeast Asia and South Africa as brinjal. It bears a fruit of the same name (commonly either “eggplant” in American, Australian English and sometimes Canadian English, or “aubergine” in British English and Canadian English) that is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to both the tomato and the potato. It was originally domesticated in India and Bangladesh from the wild nightshade, the thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum.

The fruit is botanically classified as a berry and contains numerous small, soft seeds which are edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids(being a relative of tobacco).

The most time-consuming part of this delicious dish is slicing and “sweating” the eggplant and cleaning and slicing the mushrooms. For ease, I purchase pasta sauce (I’m partial to Hunt’s Garlic and Herb or Hunt’s No-Sugar Added sauces, as neither has the abundance of sugars and fats typically added to commercially available sauces) and doctor it up a bit more with herbs to boost the flavor, but you can use 2 1/2 to 3 cups of your favorite homemade pasta sauce if you prefer.

You can peel the eggplant if you prefer, but I like to leave the skin on. Lightly sprinkling it with salt and letting it rest in a colander, then rinsing or wiping it down before using it in the recipe will help keep your sauce from being runny.

This yummy dish is comforting enough for a family meal but elegant enough to serve to company.

Add a tossed salad, bread, and a glass (or two! ;-) ) of red wine (Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel is absolutely divine with this dish!), and you’ll be so happy to be a person eating purple that you might break out into song! ;-)


Easy and Light Eggplant Parmesan (Serves 4 to 6 as main dish)

  • 1 large eggplant (approximately 1 1/4 pounds), sliced
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) fresh mushrooms
  • 6 to 8 ounces (1 1/2 to 2 cups) mozzarella (do yourself a favor and shred your own!)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (Vegetarians: Use a vegetarian Parm or substitute a different cheese)
  • Can or jar (24 to 28 ounces) of your favorite pasta sauce (I like to add some additional seasonings to boost the flavor)

1. Slice eggplant. Lightly salt and layer in colander to drain.

2. Gently clean and slice mushrooms.

3. If desired, boost the flavor of your pasta sauce with some additional (I like to add in some basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce — vegetarians, leave out the Worcestershire).

4. Lightly oil or spray 13″x9″ pan with cooking spray. Wipe and/or rinse and wipe dry the eggplant slices. Layer approximately half or just over half of the eggplant slices and about half of the sliced mushrooms in the dish. I like to try and cover the bottom of the pan as well as I can with the eggplant slices, so you may use a bit more than half of the eggplant.

First Yummy Layer of the Eggplant and Mushrooms

First Yummy Layer of the Eggplant and Mushrooms

5.  Sprinkle with approximately 1/3 of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Top with remaining eggplant and mushrooms. Sprinkle with about half of the remaining cheeses.

Things are looking kinda cheesy! ;-)

Things are looking kinda cheesy! ;-)

6. Pour pasta sauce over all.

Pour on the sauce!

Pour on the sauce!

 

Looking and feeling saucy! ;-)

Looking and feeling saucy! ;-)

7. Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray a sheet of aluminum foil and tightly cover dish. Bake at 400F for 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly and eggplant is softened. (I typically don’t preheat my oven for this dish and just bake it for 45 minutes instead of 35.)

8. Remove from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 or 10 minutes (I usually just turn the oven off and let the residual heat do the job). Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

This smells -- and tastes -- so yummy!

This smells — and tastes — so yummy!

Buon Appetito!

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Want Some Southern Caviar? ;-)

Southern StatesThe American South.  My late father’s “people,” as we say in the South, are from Tennessee (many in the Knoxville area); my mom’s, southeastern Kentucky.  And one of the things Southerners take seriously is food — we’re serious about our food, be it humble but heartily delicious pinto beans and cornbread or something more elegant, such as a Mint Julep sipped at a Derby Party.

One quintessentially Southern dish is Pimento Cheese. As Wikipedia tells us:

 Pimento cheese is a common food preparation in the Southern United States, a spread or relish made with cheese. It is affectionately known as “the caviar of the South”. The basic recipe has few ingredients: sharp cheddar cheese orprocessed cheese (such as Velveeta or American cheese), mayonnaise, pimentos, salt and pepper, blended to either a smooth or chunky paste. Regional ingredients include cream cheese, Louisiana-style hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeños, onions, garlic, and dill pickles.

Pimento cheese can be served as a spread on crackers or celery, scooped onto corn chips or tortilla chips, mixed in with mashed yolks for deviled eggs, added to grits, or slathered over hamburgers or hotdogs. Pimento cheese can also be used to replace the sliced cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich.

A pimento cheese sandwich may be a quick and inexpensive lunch for children, or it may be served as a cocktail finger food (with crusts trimmed, garnished with watercress, and cut into triangles) or rolled up and cut into pinwheels. Pimento cheese sandwiches are a signature item at the Masters Tournament. Minor controversy ensued in 2013 when the Augusta National Golf Club switched food suppliers for the Masters but were unable to duplicate the recipe used by the previous supplier, resulting in a sandwich with a markedly different taste. It is also a common snack in thePhilippines, where it is referred to as cheese pimento.

Pimento CheeseSo last Monday, inspired by an absolutely delicious recipe for Juddi’s Pimento Cheese in an issue of Texas Co-Op Magazine, I decided to make up a batch of homemade Pimento Cheese for a supper of homemade Tomato Soup with Pimento Cheese sandwiches.

Me being me, I adhered to the basics of Juddi’s fabulous recipe, but I lightened it up a bit. Some tips for making your own yummy Pimento Cheese at home:

  • Grate your own cheese, peoples! The cheese will taste better, be fresher, and will work better in your recipe. I used cheddar (you can use yellow or a white cheddar or a combo of each), but you can use almost any cheese combo you might like. For easy clean-up, just spritz your grater lightly with non-stick cooking spray or cooking oil.
  • Use a small food processor or blender to finely dice the onion and olive.
  • Can’t do raw onion, but you don’t want to lose that onion taste? Sauté the finely minced onion in a lightly sprayed non-stick skillet, let it cool, and then stir into your cheese mixture.
  • For a nice balance between creamy sweet and tasty zip, I used a combination of reduced fat mayonnaise and light Miracle Whip (salad dressing). You could also probably sub out fat-free Greek yogurt for the light Miracle Whip, which would add in a bit more protein.
  • Don’t worry about exact measurements — this is a sandwich filling/spread/dip! Just remember the Golden Rule: You can always add in more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there!

So go on — fix yourself some of the yummy, homey comfort that is Pimento Cheese. If you want to be fancy with it, say it’s Southern Caviar ;-)

It’s one of the things I like about the South! ;-)

 

Lighter Pimento Cheese

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) full fat cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces chopped pimentos, drained
  • 3 teaspoons capers (just eyeball it!)
  • Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely minced onion (I used my little food processor)
  • Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of chopped green olives with pimentos, drained (I whizzed up part of a jar of sliced olives in my wee food processor)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • Approximately 1/3 cup light salad dressing (I used Miracle Whip)
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, gently stir together cheeses, pimentos, onion, capers, and olives. Gently stir in mayonnaise and salad dressing. Taste (remember that flavors will meld together) and adjust seasonings as desired. See Juddi Morris’ original recipe for some delicious add-in suggestions:

    http://www.texascooppower.com/food/recipes/juddis-pimento-cheese

  2. Keep refrigerated. Will stay fresh in refrigerator for a week or more.

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Posted in Appetizer, Main Dish, Salad Filling, Sandwich, Vegetarian/Meatless | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What Say You?

Okay, for the faithful few who read my blog (all 8 of you! ;-) LOL), I’ve tried out some yummy new things lately, even despite the chaos that this year has been.

So let me know which of these interest you — and if you have a special challenge you want me to tackle, let me know either by specifying in the “Other” or with a comment.

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Désolé, Charlie

When I was a youngster, I always felt sorry for poor Charlie:

(C’mon. Watch it. It’s only 61 seconds of your life!)

He was being excluded. His feelings were being hurt. This made me feel badly for him.

Then, somewhere along the line, I realized that by being turned down, it meant he was NOT being turned into a tin of tuna. Although I loved tuna then — as I do now — I had trouble wrapping my pre-adolescent mind around why in the world Charlie would WANT to be turned into a can of tuna.

Years of intensive psychotherapy followed. ;-) (Just teasing.)

This past Monday was Bastille Day. Hubby and I kept our celebrations more as a kind of homage or nod to French food this year as opposed to being more authentically French, but for our lunch today, I made us my take on a Pan Bagnat – a French tuna salad sandwich. As Wikipedia tells us:

The Pan-bagnat (Occitanpan banhat for bathed/wet bread) is a sandwich that is a specialty of the region of Nice,France. The sandwich is composed of pain de campagne, whole wheat bread formed in a circle, although white breadis also sometimes used, around the classic Salade Niçoise, a salad composed mainly of raw vegetableshard boiled eggsanchovies and/or tuna, and olive oil (never mayonnaise). Sometimes balsamic vinegar, ground pepper, and salt will also be added.

The name of the sandwich comes from the local Provençal languageNiçard, in which pan-banhat and the alternative spelling pan-bagnat mean “bathed/wet bread”. It is often misspelled “pain bagnat”, with the French pain rather that genuine local pan.

The pan-bagnat is a popular lunchtime dish in the region around Nice where it is sold in most bakeries and markets. Pan-bagnat and the salade niçoise (salade nissardo), along with ratatouille (La Ratatouia Nissardo in Provençal),socca and pissaladière are strongly linked to the city of Nice, where they have been developed over time out of local ingredients.

Inspired by the following recipe at About.Com French Food –

http://frenchfood.about.com/od/salads/r/panbagnat.htm

I make mine with quite a bit less oil, and toward that end, I use water-packed albacore tuna instead of tuna packed in olive oil.

This makes for a light, tasty, rather sophisticated tuna salad sandwich. Although you can make it and eat it fresh — that’s what we did today — it’s also perfect to pack for a lunch or picnic, as well. A baguette will hold up better for packing it to eat later; a steak or sub roll or French bread, lightly toasted, works best if you want to make and eat it fresh.

So the next time you want a lighter, fresher twist on the staple tuna salad, make a Pan Bagnat, pour yourself a glass of wine or sparkling water, and pretend you’re in Nice, Franc. :-)

Bon Appétit!

Pan Bagnat (Number of servings depend upon amount of tuna)

  • Albacore tuna packed in water, drained (a 10 ounce can will make about 3 to 4 sandwiches)
  • Capers to taste (a couple of tablespoons for a 10 or so ounce can)
  • Red onion, sliced thinly and then chopped, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar to taste (I’m generous with mine)
  • Coarse ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Baguette or other desired bread (a baguette will hold up better for packing it to eat later; a steak or sub roll or French bread, lightly toasted, works best if you want to make and eat it fresh)
  1. In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon or two (eyeball it) of olive oil with minced garlic. If using a baguette, split and spread the garlic-seasoned oil lightly on the inside halves of the bread. If using a steak roll, submarine roll, or French bread, split bread and lightly toast it before spreading the inside halves of the bread lightly with the garlic-seasoned oil.
  2. In another bowl, toss  together drained and flaked albacore tuna, capers, minced red onion, and coarse ground black pepper. Add in remaining garlic-flavored olive oil and season with red wine vinegar. Toss together, taste, and add additional olive oil and/or red wine vinegar until desired flavor and consistency is achieved. Remember, easy does it! You can always add in a bit more oil or vinegar, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there!
  3. Place sliced tomato on one halve of bread. Top with desired amount of tuna mixture. Top with other half of bread. TO ENJOY LATER: Wrap sandwich tightly in cling wrap and keep chilled until you’re ready to eat.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.

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And Now, for Something Completely Different!

curryMonday, I made us a lasagna, and while we still have quite a bit left (I’ll freeze half for another meal at another time), I wanted us to have something completely different for supper last night, to 1) break up the leftover lasagna meal with something different and 2) give us something yummy for lunch the following day. Hubby suggested I dig some tilapia fillets out of the freezer and do something with them.

Hmmm.

After a bit of Googling and a bit of thought, I got inspiration from two recipes — one for Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Apricot Glaze and another recipe that I’ve made several times before for Quick Marmalade Curry Chicken from Pioneer Baking Mix.

I used a combination of flour and cornmeal with the coconut because I didn’t have any Panko bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs in my pantry (note to self: add to grocery list!), but this would certainly be yummy with Panko bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs, as well.

I would have preferred to use no-sugar-added orange marmalade, but I didn’t have enough of it on hand, so I used no-sugar-added apricot marmalade instead.

I served this along with rice and green beans. Hubby said it’s a keeper!

So the next time you want something completely different, give my Coconut Curried Fish a try! (And go on, click the link and spend 2 minutes and 37 seconds giggling — you know you want to!)

Coconut Curried Fish (Serves 4 to 5, easy enough to adjust number of servings up or down)

  •  6 tilapia fillets (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (OR 1/2 cup Panko or unseasoned bread crumbs)
  • Coarse ground black pepper to taste
  • Milk (I used 1%) to soak fish in (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons oil (canola or olive oil)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) no-sugar-added apricot preserves OR orange marmalade
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
  • Curry powder to taste (about a teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons — eyeball it)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (light sprinkling)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar (white, apple cider, red wine, or rice vinegar) (eyeball it)
  1. In a shallow bowl (I used a pie plate), mix together coconut flakes, flour and cornmeal (or Panko or breadcrumbs), and coarse ground black pepper to taste.
  2. In another shallow bowl (I used another pie plate), place tilapia fillets and pour in milk.
  3. In a measuring cup or bowl, mix together no-sugar-added apricot preserves or orange marmalade, water, curry powder, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  5. Carefully dredge fish fillets in coconut mixture and place in skillet. Cook until coconut begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn fish and cook other side until fish is done, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove fillets to platter and keep warm.
  6. Deglaze pan with a couple splashes of vinegar. Stir in preserves/marmalade mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to desired consistency (I reduced the mixture by about 1/3, you may prefer to reduce it more or less.) Pour over fillets.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.

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But What If You Can’t Make Lemonade, Either?

lemons“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” We’ve all heard that saying. And typically, it reflects my attitude, which is to try and deal the best you can with what comes your way and make the most of what you can with what’s at your disposal.

As you may recall, my year’s been chock full of lemons thus far: a seriously waylaid Operation Laundry Room (remodel of our laundry room that should have only taken 3 or 4 weeks has been going on since the end of January); my beloved falling while trimming a tree limb in our yard on 27-Feb, resulting in a compression fracture of his T12 vertebrae (he was finally released from his back brace on 16-May); having to put down our beautiful, beloved calico of 16 years, Ally, on 21-Apr (Easter Monday); and then…on 30-Apr, while at our home (she’d been planting some flowers in our plant beds for us, as hubby was unable to because of his brace and I simply did not have the time), my mom suffered a heart attack.

ENOUGH with the lemons, already!

I was already feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, but now I had over a week’s worth of daily trips to the hospital (a 45 to 60 minute drive for me one-way, depending on traffic), which has been followed by mornings, afternoons, and/or days spent at my mom’s after her release.

I have never felt more challenged and stretched. Although he was doing much better, my beloved was still confined to his back brace for the first couple of weeks after Mom’s heart attack, which not only restricted his movements and capabilities (no bending, lifting anything over 10 pounds, no pushing or pulling with more than 10 pounds of effort), but also meant I needed to get him in and out of his brace. (By the way, the day my mom had her heart attack, my beloved ended up being in that uncomfortable brace for almost 24 hours straight…and he did it without one hint of complaint. Not once. Yes, he’s a keeper. :-) )

With the additional chaos, meals became more challenging: I was too exhausted and worn out, emotionally and physically, to prepare any of my “go to” easy meals, and with my hubby’s restrictions in his brace, he was limited on what he could do meal-wise, as well, as he couldn’t bend to get anything into or out of the oven, nor could even fill a pot with water to boil pasta (it would be greater than the 10 pound limit).

Yes, of course, one can eat out — and I did have to for lunches — but restaurant meals quickly become tiresome, and typically, they aren’t as healthy as meals one prepares at home, and they most certainly aren’t as economical. Ditto for take-out from restaurants.

Often, when I know I’ll have a busy day, I’ll turn to my slow cooker, but I didn’t have the time or energy to plan ahead to prep meals in it, either.

(By the way, folks, if you’ve ever wondered why people tend to offer or bring over home cooked meals to friends or family when they’re undergoing a stressful time, all those reasons above are why. I know when I’ve done that for people, they have appreciated it.)

So, what did I do? I turned more to convenience products and packaged foods, but I did my best to try and “healthy” them up. Here are some of the tips and techniques employed:

  • Use a pre-mixed, pre-washed bagged salad and pre-washed prepared fresh vegetables as the basis for healthy but quick sides.
  • Adding tinned beans, rinsed and drained, thawed frozen vegetables, and/or prepared meat(s) and cheeses to a bagged salad can make for a quick, easy, but healthy main dish.
  • Picking up a main dish from your grocery’s deli, such as already cooked ribs or chicken?  Forego the typically fat- and calorie-laden commercially prepared potato and macaroni salads and opt for healthier, but equally easy sides, such as seasoned tinned beans, rinsed and drained, and fresh frozen vegetables  (you can steam frozen ears of corn in your microwave in about 5 minutes or so et voila — a healthy but quick and easy side dish!).
  • Healthy up “dinner kits” by choosing lighter ingredients and adding in healthy ingredients to boost the nutritional value. For example, one night, exhausted and feeling uninspired for supper, I picked up an Old El Paso Soft Taco Bake Dinner Kit. To healthy it up, I
    • Used lean (93/7) ground turkey (93/7 ground beef or ground chicken breast would have worked, also; vegetarians, you could use Soyrizo, vegetarian taco crumbles, or canned beans, rinsed and drained, and/or frozen corn, thawed),
    • Spread refried beans onto the tortillas (this added additional fiber and protein),
    • Added some green chilies and sliced black olives,
    • Added a bit of shredded reduced-fat cheese (additional calcium), and
    • Dressed each serving generously with salad greens, diced tomato, and salsa and added a bit of reduced-fat sour cream and guacamole.
  • Take a humble sandwich from ho-hum to something a bit more special by making it on a bakery loaf of French bread, sourdough bread, or other specialty bread from your grocery’s bakery section.

So the next time life throws you lemons, if you can’t make lemonade, sing the Lemon Tree song, it’ll make you feel better. :-)

 

Despite all this chaos, I have not forgotten about, nor have I abandoned my blog! I have some recipes I want to share with you — it’s just a matter of my finding the time and energy. So keep an eye out for future posts. :-)

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Can You Can Can?

Black_Turtle_BeanNo, I’ve not given up my blog, nor have I disappeared…I have, however, been dealing with life: my beloved is still recovering from a compression fracture in his T12 vertebrae, which means I also do many of the tasks he normally does, such as mowing our rather large yard; until this past Monday, I was caring for our aging calico, Ally, whose health was in decline, sadly, we put her to rest this past Monday, the 21st; under my beloved’s direction, I’ve been fitting in what tasks I can, when I can, to help us inch forward however slowly on Operation Laundry Room; and oh, yeah, being self-employed, hubby and I have been working on keeping our business up and running.

As I said, life.

Anyway, with all this activity, I’ve been searching about for easy but different meals, which is part of what inspired me to try my own take on a recipe on the back of a Hunt’s can of fire roasted tomatoes with garlic for their Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Skillet.

Product packaging and product websites can often provide inspiration for new ideas. After all, these companies are familiar with their products and want to encourage you to find a variety of ways to enjoy them. The recipe on the back of the Hunt’s can of tomatoes inspired me to give it a try for one of our weekly meatless meals, and boy, am I glad I did!

Me being me, I used the recipe as a springboard to make it more to mine and hubby’s liking. Toward this end, I some diced onion. As Wikipedia tells us:

Most onion cultivars are about 89% water, 4% sugar, 1% protein, 2% fibre and 0.1% fat. They contain vitamin Cvitamin B6folic acid and numerous other nutrientsin small amounts. They are low in fats and in sodium, and with an energy value of 166kJ (40 kcal) per 100 g (3.5 oz) serving, they can contribute their flavour to savoury dishes without raising caloric content appreciably.[24]

Onions contain chemical compounds such as phenolics and flavonoids that basic research shows to have potential anti-inflammatoryanti-cholesterol,anticancer and antioxidant properties.[medical citation needed] These include quercetinand its glycosides quercetin 3,4′-diglucoside and quercetin-4′-glucoside.[34][35] There are considerable differences between different varieties in potential antioxidant content. Shallots have the highest level, six times the amount found in Vidalia onions, the variety with the smallest amount.

I also subbed out the instant rice for a reduced amount of brown rice, and included a splash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarians, you could leave this out). I also used a non-stick skillet and added in a bit more cheese (part of it reduced fat) to help increase the calcium and also make it a bit more one-dish meal hearty, yet, still ligh. Using brown rice meant the dish had to cook longer, and zucchini typically doesn’t take too long to cook, so I just added it in about 20 to 25 minutes before the rice would be done.

You can use other kinds of rice, of course, but I liked the depth of flavor that the nutty richness of brown rice added to this dish. You could also vary this with different seasonings and/or a few different vegetable combinations, such as adding in mushrooms or spinach.

So the next time you want something a bit different, but still relatively quick, easy,healthy, and yummy for supper or lunch, give Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Skillet a try — you can do it! ;-)

Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Skillet (Serves 4 as a main dish)

  •  1 can (14 – 15 ounces) tomatoes, UNDRAINED (suggested fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic)
  • 1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced (use white, yellow, or red)
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (use green, red, yellow, or orange — I used green because it’s more affordable)
  • 1 can (14 – 15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed (I used reduce sodium beans)
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians, leave out)
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup brown rice (or use another kind of rice)
  • Splash or spray of olive or canola oil
  • Approximately 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3 to 4 ounces shredded cheese (I used a mix of reduced fat cheddar and Monterrey Jack)
  1.  In a non-stick skillet, heat a splash or spray of olive or canola oil. Sauté onion and bell pepper until it begins to soften. (Cooking the vegetables part of the time with the lid on will help steam the vegetables a bit, also.) Add in additional minced garlic, if desired, and sauté for another minute or so. Add in uncooked rice and sauté for another minute or two in skillet.
  2. Pour in undrained tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, water, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in sliced zucchini about 20 to 25 minutes before cooking time is done.
  3. Remove lid and stir. If too liquid, simmer, uncovered, until desired thickness is reached. Top with grated cheese. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
Yummy and satisfying!

Yummy and satisfying!

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