Rice Noodles With Shrimp and Zucchini
Miso paste is a must-have for lots of vegetarian kitchens; here, the optional tablespoon adds depth to the slightly sweet sauce.
If you plan to make this for dinner, transfer the shrimp from the freezer to a plate in the refrigerator to defrost during the day.
And if you’re not into chopping, pick up prepped zucchini and scallions at your grocery salad bar.
3 1/2 ounces dried rice stick noodles
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste (optional)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined medium frozen shrimp, defrosted (tail on or off)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 or 3 medium (1 pound total) unpeeled zucchini, cut into 3-inch-long batons (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 scallions, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch sections
Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
Boil a kettle of water.
Place the dried noodles in a deep mixing bowl. Pour enough of the just-boiled water over them to cover. Soak for 10 minutes, until softened but not gummy, then drain.
Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice, honey, miso (if using) and soy sauce in a liquid measuring cup.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Use paper towels to dry the shrimp as much as possible. When the oil shimmers, add the shrimp and stir to coat. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, just until opaque; do not overcook. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a bowl.
Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds, then add the zucchini and stir to coat; stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s just starting to soften, then add the scallions. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds, then stir in the orange juice mixture. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the liquid has slightly thickened (no need to stir), then return the shrimp to the skillet or wok along with the drained noodles. Use tongs to incorporate. Stir-fry until just warmed through.
Divide among individual bowls. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve right away. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
– Adapted from 101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without: The Prevention Cookbook, by Lori Powell (Rodale, 2012)
Spinach and Rice Casserole
A box of frozen chopped spinach opens up a world of culinary possibilities – including this casserole of modest size. A bag of cooked brown rice in the freezer or a box of Minute-brand brown rice is great to have on hand as well.
Feel free to bulk up the dish with crumbled, cooked sausage or cooked, shredded chicken.
Transfer the package of spinach from the freezer to a plate in the refrigerator before you go to work in the morning; this will speed up preparation when you get home.
Make ahead: The unbaked casserole can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then refrigerated for a day or frozen for up to 3 months.
1 large egg
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, then squeezed dry
3 scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for optional sprinkling
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1 cup low-fat milk
1 small chicken bouillon cube (may substitute a vegetable bouillon cube)
3 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or a casserole with a 4-cup capacity.
Lightly beat the egg in a mixing bowl, then add the spinach, scallions, rice and cheeses, stirring to incorporate. Transfer to the baking dish.
Heat the milk in small saucepan over medium heat. Break up the bouillon cube, then stir in until dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Whisk together the melted butter and flour in a cup, then whisk that mixture into the warm, milk-bouillon mixture to create a quickly thickened sauce. Pour evenly over the contents of the baking dish. If desired, sprinkle a little Parmigiano-Reggiano over the surface. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown in spots.
Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.
– Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, edited by Sarah Roahen and John T. Edge (University of Georgia Press, 2010)
Pumpkin Tortilla Soup
3 to 4 servings (Makes about 5 1/4 cups)
Corn tortillas, fresh or slightly stale, thicken this soup in a flavorful way.
If you open two 15-ounce cans of pumpkin purée for this recipe, you’ll have a little left over; stir it into store-bought hummus or your favorite chili or muffin recipe. To omit the alcohol, substitute fresh, unsweetened apple cider or sparkling cider.
If you have the inclination to make a crunchy garnish, cut 1 or 2 additional tortillas into thin strips and lightly fry them in oil until crisped. Or you can crumble a few store-bought tortilla chips.
Make ahead: The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen flat in zip-top bags for up to 6 months.
1/2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus a few cilantro leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
Six 6-inch refrigerated corn tortillas, cut into strips, then into 1/2 -inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground cayenne pepper (may substitute hot sauce)
1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin purée (from two 15-ounce cans)
1 cup brown ale or hard cider
1 1/2 cups water, or more as needed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
Toasted hulled pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
Flesh of 1 ripe avocado, cubed, for garnish (optional)
Combine the onion, garlic (to taste) and cilantro in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion-cilantro mixture along with the chopped tortillas, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring several times, until softened.
Stir in the cumin and cayenne pepper (to taste). Cook for 1 minute, then add the pumpkin purée, ale or cider, the water and salt, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tortillas will break up and thicken the soup; add water to achieve the desired consistency. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Divide among bowls. Garnish with the cilantro leaves, pumpkin seeds and/or avocado, if desired. Serve warm.
Note: Toast pumpkin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. You will hear them make popping sounds.
– Adapted from a recipe by Emily Ho on TheKitchn.com.
Make ahead: The hummus can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
15 ounces canned, no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup creamy low-fat peanut butter (may substitute tahini)
2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese (optional)
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar/syrup, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
Pinch kosher salt (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (optional)
Combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, cream cheese, if using, the syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until well incorporated. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream to form a fairly smooth hummus.
Taste, and add the salt, if desired, pulsing to incorporate. Add the chocolate chips, if using, and pulse to the desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl, or cover tightly and refrigerate. To serve, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and drizzle with a little syrup. Makes 9 servings (Makes about 2 1/4 cups).
– Adapted from Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America’s Favorite Spread, by Averie Sunshine (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013).