December 2003

Vol. 2     No. 12  

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Featured Recipes

SPINACH DIP

Heather and I have been making this dip for many years.  We like it on crackers or as a dip for fresh vegetables.  Heather especially loves it with artichokes.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Chilling Time:  1-2 hours
Servings:  makes about 2 cups

1  12.3 ounce box Lite Silken tofu
1 package (1.1 ounce) Fantastic Foods Vegetable Soup & Dip mix
½ package (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
¾ cup tofu sour cream (recipe August 2002 newsletter) 

Place the tofu in a food processor and process until very smooth.  Scrape into a medium sized bowl.  Add the soup mix and stir well.  Add the spinach and stir again until well mixed.  Stir the tofu sour cream into this mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend. 

MUSHROOM SPREAD

This is another delicious spread for crackers or toasted bread.  It may be served warm or at room temperature. 

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  makes about 3 cups 

¼ cup vegetable broth
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms (see hint below)
3 cups finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
freshly ground pepper to taste
dash salt
1/3 cup tofu sour cream (recipe August 2002 newsletter)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Place the vegetable broth in a large non-stick skillet.  Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, continue to cook and stir about 10 more minutes.  Add the wine, parsley, thyme, pepper and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Stir in tofu sour cream and vinegar.  Serve warm.

Hints:  Clean the portobello mushrooms well and scrape off the dark brown gills on the underside of the caps (use a spoon).  Remove the tough stems from the fresh shiitaki mushrooms.  Chop both kinds of mushrooms finely.  (Use a food processor for an even finer chop.) This may be prepared a day ahead and heated in the microwave just before serving.  Or serve at room temperature.

CHUNKY CHILI

I make many variations of chili during the winter months.  Some of them take a long time to cook and seem to warm up the kitchen while they are cooking.  This chili only takes 40 minutes to cook but it will warm you up when you eat it.  It is just the thing for those days that never seem to have enough hours for cooking.  It also tastes great reheated so you can take it with you for lunch (it will stay warm in a thermos).

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  6-8

1 large onion, chopped
½ green or red bell pepper, chopped
½ yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup vegetable broth
2  15 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
2  15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash salt
several twists of freshly ground black pepper 

Place the onion, bell peppers, garlic and vegetable broth in a large pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve in a bowl with some bread on the side, or serve over brown rice.

HOPPIN’ JOHN

This is traditionally served on New Year’s Day for good luck all year, but it is delicious all year round.  Using canned beans makes this easy.  This can be as spicy as you want to make it.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Cooked rice needed

2 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh garlic
2  15 ounce cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
dash salt
several twists freshly ground pepper
dash liquid smoke
Tabasco sauce to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice

Place ½ cup of the broth in a medium saucepan.  Add the onions, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.  Add black eyed peas, remaining broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered over low heat for 5 minutes.   Add liquid smoke and Tabasco sauce to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes.  Remove bay leaf.  Stir in cooked rice, adding more Tabasco and liquid smoke, if desired.

Hint:  Instead of adding the cooked rice at the end, this may be served as a sauce over the rice or other whole grains.

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