Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters

A freezer staple gets a make-over and becomes a delicious meatless dinner.  We all have sweet peas stashed in our freezer.  Some of us may eat them and others may use them as an ice pack.  As for me, I always have a bag or two but I rarely put them to use.  This recipe happened to be in the latest Cooking Light magazine and I was flipping through on Sunday thinking of our meal plan for the week, I couldn’t help but make this since we had ALL the ingredients on hand.  My bank account appreciates me not needing to buy anything else.

About one and a half cups are pea need to be thawed for these fritters.  Once thawed, lightly mash the peas.  (Honesty, I think I should have mashed mine a little more than I did.  So don’t be scared of mashing too much.)  To the peas add in breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free), sliced green onions, garam masala (love this spice!), a little red pepper, salt, and two eggs.

Heat up a little oil on the stove top and then add in half of the fritters, about 1/4 of a cup each.  The fritters cook about 3 minutes on each side, carefully flipping to keep together.

The pea fritters are served with 2% Greek yogurt.

peafritters

I rounded out the whole meal with a simple salad.

The pea fritters gave me a little trouble on the stove-top (fritters ALWAYS stress me out) but they were delicious.  So simple yet the peas were completely transformed.  If you don’t have garam masala, I highly recommend you give it a try.  It’s a mix of spices: cardamon, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, fennel, mustard seeds, cloves and red chile peppers.  So don’t be scared of the spice name.

Oh, and since St. Patty’s day is Friday, this is the perfect GREEN dinner.

Sweet Onion Risotto with Sautéed Kale

Welcome to another edition of “cook once, eat 3 times.”  I prepared this dinner on Monday night and will be using the leftover risotto to make dinner tonight.  Risotto is not a “quick” dinner due to the time that’s needed to allow the rice to absorb the liquid but if you do this on a night or day when you have more time, you can easily prepare two more meals that week using the leftovers.

This risotto recipe is unlike any other risotto I’ve prepared in that you use brown rice instead of arborio rice and you precook the rice.  First you bring liquid (I used chicken stock) to a boil along with the rice and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You drain the rice, reserving the liquid.  The reserved liquid is combined with more chicken stock.  Lots of chopped onion is sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic and then you add in the rice.  Add in the wine and once it’s cooked off, turn the heat down and begin adding the stock mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it’s absorbed.  This whole adding liquid and stirring constantly game goes on for about 25 minutes.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, reserve some of the risotto for another night and then add in the salt, pepper and cheese (I used manchego because our store wasn’t hitting on much Monday).

And then you prepare the kale sauté that tops it all off.  Kale (I used baby kale) is sautéed in a  little bit of EVOO.  Once wilted, add in golden raisins and chopped pecans along with salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar).

risottokale

I was incredibly impressed by how creamy the rice was despite not using arborio rice and I adored the kale topping.  Especially the raisins (sweet) and pecans (nutty and salty).

Stay tuned for how I use the leftover risotto….

Butternut-Cauliflower-Coconut Curry

I’m back from a nonstop weekend in Charlotte!  I still can’t believe how much I crammed into three days.  A holiday home tour in the Fourth Ward District of Charlotte…two workouts…trip to Columbia, SC to a reveal party for my brother and sister-in-law (it’s a BOY!)…visiting baby boy Braxton (twice)…Christmas shopping at South Park….And three nights of the best sleep in months.

I arrived back home yesterday afternoon and spent the afternoon playing catch up with Big Guy.  In between making lists and shopping on the internet, we enjoyed a big warm bowl of butternut-cauliflower-coconut curry.  

I used a little help from Trader Joes by using pre-cut butternut squash and bagged cauliflower (life savers – and honestly, it’s budget-friends to purchase pre-cut butternut squash).  The curry is full of onion and garlic and lots of curry powder.  Coconut milk is added at the end to add creaminess and richness.  I absolutely adored the crunchy chickpeas on top.  I think I could eat an entire sheet pan of those little nuggets.

curry

The next several weeks are going to be super busy but I’m urging you (and myself) to enjoy it all – even the stressful moments.

And if you aren’t aware…19 days until Christmas!

Thai Coconut-Pumpkin Soup

Happy Halloween, friends!  We’ve only had a few trick-or-treaters so far but we’re armed with our candy and ready to see some cute kiddos.  For dinner tonight I whipped up a very appropriate dinner – pumpkin soup!  You could totally use butternut squash if you don’t want to bother with cutting up a pumpkin (make sure it’s a cooking pumpkin – like pie pumpkins).

The base of the soup is made from onions, pumpkin, garlic, and a granny smith apple for sweetness.  And for flavor, red curry paste and ginger.  The soup is made even more silky smooth with the addition of light coconut milk and everything is brightened up with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

The only thing I changed about this recipe is using my hand held emulsion blender instead of a large blender.

pumpkinsoup

The soup was so velvety smooth.  I adored the flavors of this soup and the lime juice really made the flavors pop.

Hope the rest of your Halloween is full of treats and not tricks!

Simple Leek Frittata with Roasted Almond Romesco

Last week I found myself with an almost-empty fridge but the need to put dinner on the table.  We were going out of town so I didn’t want to make a huge grocery haul or have lots of leftovers.  As I was scanning the fridge I took note of a wedge of parm in the cheese drawer and a carton of eggs that needed to be used.  After a quick flip through my Cooking Light recipes I found a simple leek frittata in which all I needed to grab from the store was a bunch of leeks.  Perfect.

The frittata is totally customizable and you can add whatever you have in your veggie crisper…spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers.  I added extra garlic because well, I love garlic and I used whole milk because I had a little leftover from another recipe.  I’m sure that any milk would work in this recipe.

To go with the frittata, a whipped up a Romesco sauce that is basically made with toasted bread, roasted red bell peppers and almonds.  The Romesco sauce is garlicky and smokey and absolutely delicious.  You could use this sauce on so many things; I personally think it would be awesome on a sandwich instead of mayo or mustard.

frittata

Simple, healthy and quite inexpensive.  A perfect meatless-Monday dinner but I think a meatless-Wednesday is okay, too.

 

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa

For some reason I don’t think to cook with black-eyed peas very often.  To be honest, it’s about once a year – New Year’s Day.  But when I was flipping through the most recent issue of Cooking Light I couldn’t help but want to put these black-eyed pea cakes on the dinner menu.  I think my desire to want and make this dinner was the ability to use some of the veggies and herbs from our garden.

Sweet Corn

Tomatoes

Parsley

The cakes honestly come together in no time and the most time consuming part is the cooking of the cakes.

The black-eyed pea cakes are made by combining black-eyed peas (that were pulsed a few times in the food processor), panko (I used gluten-free breadcrumbs), sliced green onions, salt, cayenne pepper and two lightly beaten eggs.  The mixture is then formed into eight cakes and cooked in a little EVOO for about five minutes on each side.  I cooked mine in two batches and kept the cooked cakes warm in the oven set at 250 degrees.

Once all the cakes were cooked, I prepared the salsa by sautéing the corn in the same skillet that I cooked the cakes.  The corn is then tossed with cherry tomatoes, a little vinegar (I used white wine vinegar), parsley, 1/2 cup black-eyed peas, plus a little salt and pepper.

blackeyedpeacakes

This dinner was light and I thought that the cakes stayed together very well.  Big Guy and I both adored the corn salsa on top.  So fresh!

Black-eyed peas brings prosperity if you eat them on New Year’s Day…I’m hoping that they bring prosperity no matter when you eat them.

Egg and Tomato Open-Faced Sandwiches with Cheddar Zucchini Chips

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope y’all had a great weekend.  My sister and brother-in-law were in town and we enjoyed taking them to a wine dinner on Friday evening and then relaxing by the pool on Saturday.  After a quick visit with friends to the new brewery in town, Koi Pond, we headed home for an afternoon and night of good food and laughs.  And while I was sad to see them leave yesterday morning, we have multiple “reunions” coming up that I have to look forward to.

If you’re anything like me, come Monday I crave light, vegetarian dinners.  This open-faced sandwich is not only easy, peasy to throw together but it’s also the perfect, light end to Monday.

Toasted bread is topped with about 1 tablespoon of sundried tomato hummus followed by lettuce and a slice of heirloom tomato.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then add a sprinkle of chopped olives.  Finally, the sandwich is finished off with a fried egg.

I served this sandwich with cheddar zucchini chips that I made by slicing up a zucchini and then topping with a mix of shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs plus some salt and pepper. The zucchini is then broiled for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tops begin to brown.

eggtomatosandwich

I hope you all have a great week (bonus:  it’s a short week for me)!