International · Main Dishes · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Quick and Easy Chana Masala

I haven’t had many strange cravings during this pregnancy so far (except for maybe chocolate milk… but let’s be real, who doesn’t crave that normally?), but one thing I can say is that now that the weather is getting a tiny bit cooler, I want stew every night! Last week I made a crock pot minestrone stew that somehow didn’t make it onto the blog, and this week I wanted something spicy! Chana masala sounded really good.

Continue reading “Quick and Easy Chana Masala”

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Lunches · Main Dishes · Salads · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew

Confession: I did not mean for this to be a stew.

Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew
Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew

Hello! How was your weekend? I’m here to share with you an almost “Claire-Fails” worthy recipe. Except that my almost “fail” turned into a gigantic WIN!

It all started when I got a new blender a few weeks ago. Ever since I got my Oster Versa, I have been blending everything in sight. Daily green smoothies, PB&B milkshakes, and lately, salad dressing!

Occasionally I make stuffed mushrooms using this filling, which requires pulsing a few times in the food processor to chop up the veggies and herbs before stuffing the mushrooms. Usually I add chickpeas just at the end to chop them up a bit and make them go a little further in the mixture. Same thing with a blender, right?

Not so much.

What I imagined to be a nice chunky dressing with some chopped-up tomatoes and chickpeas became, well, soup. Maybe it was because the mouth of the blender is smaller and doesn’t incorporate as well during the pulsing? Either way, I ended up with a less-than-appetizing looking salad.

That’s when you call it what it is! Salad stew! Once I decided that this was going to be more like a thick green gazpacho, it became much more appealing. I decided to add a few peaches for extra sweetness, and green peas for more texture.

IMG_8216

Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Healthy, Summer
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Call it salad, call it stew, call it what you want…
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 + 2 tbsp EVOO (divided)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (divided)
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 small peaches, diced
  • goat cheese (optional)
  • zucchini shreds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add 4 cups salted water to lentils and quinoa in a large saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 13 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic, 1/4 cup red onion, and mushrooms. Cook until fork tender and remove from heat.
  3. In a blender or food processor, make the dressing by combining parsley through mustard, plus 2 tbsp of olive oil and remaining onion. Pulse on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour about half of mixture into mason jar or airtight container (can be frozen or stored in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks).
  4. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes to blender with remaining dressing. Pulse 3-4 times until chopped roughly (I like mine chunky so I made sure not to overpulse).
  5. Combine lentils, quinoa, mushroom mixture, and contents of blender to a large bowl or serving dish. Stir in peas and peaches. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over spinach or grated zucchini with goat cheese and a little drizzle of olive oil over the top! This stew is also great with crusty bread!

Healthy, fiber-licious and lots of protein in this one. I served it over greens and zucchini noodles, with a little baked tofu for extra protein. You could eat it as a main dish like me or as a side- but you might be surprised at just how filling it is!

Happy America Week!
Happy America Week!
Main Dishes · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew

Last winter I was inspired by a slow-cooker recipe from Daphne Oz on abc.com’s The Chew (which also happens to be my favorite show and I never miss an episode!) which featured baked beans and sweet potatoes. Three of my absolute favorite things in one dish: baked beans, sweet potatoes, and a slow-cooker. Um, yes please?

I adapted Daphne’s original recipe due to not having some of the ingredients and wanting to make a vegetarian version. I added a few extra spices and veggies, adjusted some of the amounts, and used butternut squash cubes (despite my love for sweet potatoes). But I LOVED the idea of adding molasses and tomato paste with the navy beans to make a sort of “deconstructed baked bean” stew. Perfect for a crisp fall day! I stirred in some seasonal baby kale, prepared tofu cubes, and served with crusty bread for dipping up all the extra juice.

Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew
Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew

I was recently approached by an associate producer of The Chew who saw my instagram post featuring this recipe with #YouOnTheChew a few months ago. She asked for me to send the recipe so they could recreate it for their hosts and possibly feature it on the show! The only problem is that I never wrote down the recipe! I had meant to, and even took pictures and everything, but could not for the life of me find a record of what I actually did.

So I recreated it today- hopefully it is similar to the original! And thanks again to Daphne for the inspiration!

Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew
Recipe Type: Stew
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A dish inspired by The Chew’s lovely Daphne Oz! Here’s the vegetarian version.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup frozen red and yellow peppers (I used Trader Joe’s fire-roasted blend)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp each paprika and parsley
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash (about 1/2″ cubes)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3-5 cups chopped baby kale
  • 1 cup tofu cubes (about 1/2″ cubes) (optional)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, for serving (optional)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • crusty bread (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and peppers and cook until tender, about 3-4 mins. Stir in tomato paste and mustard.
  2. Add vinegar to pan to deglaze, then transfer entire mixture to slow-cooker.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients (molasses through vegetable broth) and set slow cooker to low heat for 4-6 hours, or until squash is tender.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the kale and tofu (if using).
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve with crusty bread for dipping!
Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew
Slow-Cooker Baked Bean & Molasses Stew

 

Main Dishes · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole

Happy Friday, all! For all of you who are snowed in like we are on the East coast thanks to Jonas, hope you stayed dry and cozy today! I had to work this morning but the therapy team really pulled together and helped each other out to make sure we could all leave when we needed to! The roads weren’t great, but I was able to get home by mid-morning without a problem thanks to awesome tires on my new CRV. Nice to know it’s good in the snow!

Tomorrow it looks like it’s going to be another day inside… hope I can get a good workout video in so I don’t go crazy! Ben is vowing to run in the snow… he’s cray-cray. I went for a little walk around the neighborhood in rain boots and a raincoat today (welcome to the South, where we don’t own actual winter gear) and my feet were still sliding all over the place in the slush! Can’t imagine doing that in running shoes!

Ok, I will probably end up going with him.

In other news, we were out of food, except for the delicious Butternut Squash & Beet Salad I made yesterday in advance of the storm (picture here on my Instagram). But Ben does not live by beets alone, so it was time to make another crock pot chicken supper. I literally tossed every can of anything that semi-went together and wouldn’t taste awful… resulting in a BBQ style shredded chicken with spinach and kidney beans.

Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole
Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole

It wasn’t quite ready by dinnertime, so I finished it off (after shredding) in the oven with all the juices and some breadcrumbs/cheddar topping.

Ben loved it! Seems like any time I put next-to-no effort in, it’s a huge hit! I need to stop trying so hard.

Served with garlic naan (leftover), spinach, and couscous for crunch!

Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole
Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: BBQ
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Snowed-in this weekend? Wherever you are, this throw-together crock pot chicken is a delicious way to use up some pantry staples and impress your man!
Ingredients
  • 4 large, frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed/drained and lightly mashed
  • 1/4 cup good BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp each BBQ seasoning (optional) and cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp each garlic powder and chili powder
  • pinch of parsley, chili flakes (if you like it spicy)
  • cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, and/or couscous, for topping
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (except kidney beans) in large crock pot and set to high.
  2. Cook on high heat for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender.
  3. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return to pot and stir in mashed kidney beans.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Pour chicken mixture into casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray and top with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake, covered loosely, for 20 mins, then uncovered for the last 5 min or until bubbly.
  5. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving with couscous and spinach.
Add ingredients to crock pot.
Add ingredients to crock pot.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole
Snowed-in BBQ Chicken & Spinach Casserole

Happy weekend! Stay warm and safe!

International · Lunches · Main Dishes · Salads · Sides · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

“Veggie Dump” Grain Bowl

Who’s in favor of dinner that you throw in a pot and walk away? I got the idea from fANNEtastic food a few nights ago- she has the best ideas for easy, throw-together dinners! While I didn’t include the chicken breasts due to the woes of vegetarianism, I added a few leftover meatballs in Ben’s bowl and added a fried egg on top of mine for a little extra protein!

Sorry for the site being down yesterday- glad that smart husband of mine knows computers and was able to fix the problem in no time! Yay computer scientists.

"Veggie Dump" Grain Bowl
“Veggie Dump” Grain Bowl

The ingredients are simple, and you could add any frozen veggies you like. I settled on some ready-chopped broccoli/cauliflower/carrot from Harris Teeter, frozen peppers and onions from TJ’s, a can of chickpeas, kalamata olives, frozen spinach, and diced tomatoes. With some capers and a TON of spices (I should have spring cleaned my spice cabinet while I was at it!). Two thumbs up for Mediterranean food!

“Veggie Dump” Grain Bowl
Recipe Type: Salad, Main Dish, Side
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Claire McCormick
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Dump and simmer away- dinner is served! Add any veggies you like- the only rule is that you are only allowed to do 2 minutes of chopping/prepping for this meal. The rest is up to the stovetop!
Ingredients
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chopped veggies (peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or any other ones you want!)
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted)
  • 2 T capers
  • 1 tsp each garlic powder, oregano, Greek seasoning, parsley
  • 1/2 tsp each chili flakes, coriander, salt, and pepper
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water or veggie broth
  • Feta, for serving
  • Protein of choice
Instructions
  1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium-high, then add onions and garlic to pan. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add garbanzo beans, followed by veggies, spinach, tomatoes, olives and capers, and all spices/liquid. Cook, stirring every so often, for about 3 minutes.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to low, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Prior to serving, top with feta and extra salt/pepper if desired.
  5. Serve with protein of your choice! I added some leftover grains we had (barley/quinoa/lentil mixture) and some crusty crackers.
Prep ingredients.
Prep ingredients.
Cook onions, garlic and chickpeas.
Cook onions, garlic and chickpeas.
Add veggies and simmer.
Add veggies and simmer.
Serve and enjoy!
Serve and enjoy!

Don’t work too hard on this one! It’s meant to take away stress, not add it!

What are you up to this weekend?

International · Lunches · Main Dishes · Sides · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Vegan Lentil Chili

He calls it soup. I call it stew. See, apparently the amount of broth is the defining factor in whether you need to use a spoon or can just use a big hunk of crusty dipping bread. We decided to settle on “chili.” Crisis averted.

Vegan Lentil Chili

My sister Bethany got me these adorable Le Creuset Ramekins for Christmas and I was itching to use them to display my chili! (Don’t worry, we actually ate a lot more than what it looks like in the picture.) But you could totally use these cute little dishes as a container for ingredients, garnishes, or soup as an appetizer. They’re also the perfect size for a scoop of ice cream! Freezer, microwave, and oven safe, they’re completely versatile, and you know the Le Creuset name will not disappoint.

Anyway, back to chili. What better way to come back from Christmas travels than a nice hearty bowl of veggie-packed chili to fill you up without weighing you down? I was inspired by the original recipe by our good friends Sarah and Mike, who made a similar vegetarian chili for us a few weeks ago when they had us over for a pre-holiday dinner. For those of you looking to get a head start on your diet for the New Year, this vegan chili is protein and fiber-packed, and is also filled with vitamins and minerals from fresh and frozen vegetables. I used green lentils and black beans as my legumes, but you could also use kidney beans or chickpeas for a slightly different take. I originally planned to add another grain like farro or barley, but by the time I had all the ingredients in the crock pot, I literally had no room!

The struggle is real.

Serve with crushed tortilla chips, crusty bread, or whole-grain crackers for dipping. Then garnish with feta (or cotija for the fancy ones) and a dollop of plain greek yogurt. I also layered some spinach under mine because I can’t resist having spinach with every single dinner. I am a creature of habit.

Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Lentil Chili
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A protein and fiber-packed stew/soup (stoup?) that will fill you up but not weigh you down! Get a head-start on your New Year’s diet resolution with this lentil chili recipe, perfect for rainy December nights.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 2 cans diced or stewed tomatoes and juices
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2-3 cups chopped butternut squash (buying pre-chopped saves so much time!)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup frozen peppers and onions (I love the TJ’s bagged mix)
  • 1 tsp each garlic powder, coriander, cumin, basil, and chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3-4 cups low sodium vegetable stock (depending on how much room you have!)
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high, then add onion, garlic, and carrot. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook about 1 minute more until tender. Layer in bottom of crock pot sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Set on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours until squash and carrots are tender.
  4. Serve with feta/cotija cheese and grain of your choice!
Vegan Lentil Chili
Vegan Lentil Chili

All opinions of products in this post are my own.

Main Dishes · Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, & White Bean Stew

Happy Tuesday! It’s been a rainy week here in Durham, after a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend! Since it’s finally feeling like stew soup weather (Ben tells me that stew has to have more “stuff” and less liquid, although I seriously beg to differ that this stew doesn’t have enough “stuff” in it…), I decided to raid the pantry and make a healthy, hearty supper to warm the bones.

I added a sliced apple for some sweetness (compliments of my Mother-in-law, Julie, who knows my favorite kind is Stayman and went out of her way to make sure I came home with a dozen after our visit to Pittsburgh this weekend!), and a bit of lemon juice and balsamic at the end for a tiny little bit of sharpness to balance out the starchiness of the squash and sweetness of the apple!

Serve with crusty bread and protein of choice, of course.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, & White Bean Stew
Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, & White Bean Stew
Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, & White Bean Stew
Recipe Type: Soup, Stew
Cuisine: Fall, Winter
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A warm, hearty soup to warm the bones! Add your favorite protein (egg, tofu, or meat if non-vegetarian) and serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz sliced bella mushrooms
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 sliced apple
  • 1 cup shredded or sliced brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp dry rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 32 oz. box low sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock if non-vegetarian)
  • 2 cans diced or stewed tomatoes and juice
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • dash of lemon juice (optional)
  • dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high and add onions and garlic until softened- about 3 min. Add mushrooms, apple and squash and cook until tender and squash is lightly browned, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add brussels sprouts and cook about 1 more minute.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in spices and salt and pepper.
  3. Add mixture to crock pot, followed by stock, tomatoes, and white beans. Cook at least 4 hours on high, or 6 hours on low. (*Note: if not using slow cooker, you can also add all ingredients into a big stockpot and bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.)
  4. Just before serving, stir in balsamic and/or lemon juice, and more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve with crusty bread and cheese!

Have you put up your Christmas decorations yet? I feel like I just took down the Halloween ones! What’s your favorite holiday to decorate for?