January 2006

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Vol. 5, No. 1   

Featured Recipes

Hoisin-Tofu Lettuce Wraps
These are a great finger food, fun to eat, but a bit messy. For a lower fat variation, see the suggestion under hints.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4 (enough for 2 people) 

½ cup pine nuts
12 ounces firm water-packed tofu (not silken)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
dash sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro OR Italian parsley
8 iceberg or butter lettuce leaves

Toast the pine nuts in a dry non-stick pan for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. 
Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut tofu into small (1/4 inch) cubes.  Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add tofu and sauce mixture, cook stirring constantly until sauce is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the hoisin sauce, mix well, then add the cilantro or parsley.

Heat and stir for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the reserved pine nuts.

Serve in lettuce leaves, with some additional hoisin sauce to spoon over the top. If desired.

Hints:  Instead of the pine nuts, mix ½ cup of chopped water chestnuts in with the tofu before cooking and add an extra
tablespoon of the hoisin sauce.

Potato Artichoke Casserole
This may be prepared ahead and then baked just before serving.  If refrigerated, add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  4

1  8 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/3 cup vegetable broth
2 cups chunked red potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
½ cup pureed silken tofu
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thaw the artichoke hearts in a colander for several hours, OR drop into boiling water and cook until just thawed. 
Drain and set aside.

Place the vegetable broth in a large non-stick frying pan.  Add the potatoes and onions, cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, until liquid has evaporated and onions are beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Add bell pepper and garlic and continue to cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add artichoke hearts, olives, silken tofu, parsley, basil and oregano.  Mix gently until well combined.  Turn into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle with the bread crumbs.  Cover and bake for 15 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve hot.

Hints:  This may also be made with different kinds of potatoes.  Fingerling potatoes are especially good.  Green pepper may be substituted for the red pepper, if desired.  I have also tried this with canned artichoke hearts and sliced black olives, but the results were not as tasty as with the frozen hearts and the kalamata olives, so I would not recommend those substitutions.

Mexican Bean Soup
This is an easy soup that anyone can put together with very little effort for delicious results!  The optional chipotle powder adds a smoky flavor and a bit more heat to the soup.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  6

1  32 ounce box vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2  15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2  14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)

Place ¼ cup of the broth in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the cumin and oregano and stir for another minute.  Then add the remaining broth, corn, beans, tomatoes and chipotle powder.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. 

Butternutty Soup
This is a mildly spicy, slightly creamy, squash soup.  This is delicious with a loaf of fresh bread and a mixed spinach salad.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  6-8

1/3 cup water
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups vegetable broth
½ cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Place the water in a large soup pot.  Add the squash, onions, garlic, soy sauce, cumin and coriander.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until onion is tender.  Add the broth, peanut butter, tomato paste, and crushed pepper.  Mix well, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until squash is very tender.  Mash slightly with a bean masher while still in the pot.  Mix well.  Serve with chopped cilantro and optional peanuts to garnish each bowl.

Variation:  Use 2  10 ounce packages of frozen Cascadian Farms Organic Winter Squash instead of the butternut squash.  Add this when you add the broth, after the onions are cooked.  The squash will thaw as the soup heats up.  No mashing is necessary; just use a whisk near the end of the cooking time.  The flavor is slightly different because this is not butternut squash, but the soup is still delicious.

Gingered Lentil Soup
Contributed by Greta Weingast, Silverdale, WA.

Greta wrote me with this recipe and it looks so delicious that I had to share it with everyone. She says she has made this soup 3 times in the past 8 days and served it to guests with wonderful results.  Serve it with a crusty loaf of fresh bread and a big green salad.

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  1 hour 40 minutes
Servings:  10

½ cup vegetable broth
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
10 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
½ cup brown rice
¾ pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½ inch chunks
1 cup frozen chopped spinach

Bring the ½ cup broth to a boil and add carrots and onion, cook, stirring frequently for 4-6 minutes on medium heat or until slightly tender. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt and allspice, and cook, stirring for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the remaining broth, lentils, and rice, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lentils and rice are tender. Stir in the sweet potatoes, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in the spinach, and cook for 5 minutes.

Two Grain Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms
By Alex Bury, McDougall Program cooking instructor

This is a delicious way to add some different grains to your meal plan.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  45 minutes
Servings:  4

½  cup uncooked barley
½  cup uncooked wild rice
¾  cup water
1 2/3  cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
white wine for sautéing
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced or chopped fresh mushrooms
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped

In a large saucepan combine barley, wild rice, water, vegetable broth, thyme, marjoram, pepper and salt.  Cook over high heat until mixture comes to a full boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover; continue cooking until water is absorbed and barley and rice are tender (40 to 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, in 10 inch skillet, sauté carrot in wine for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, celery and onion.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until celery is crisply tender.  Stir this vegetable mixture into cooked rice mixture.  Serve hot.

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