Eat at Bett's

Our Passion for Food came from our Mom

Archive for the month “February, 2009”

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Melissa and I are not eating meat for Lent (3 days down, 43 to go! — for our reasoning, see my Rambling Priest blog) and have been looking at all sorts of meatless recipes that are more than rice and beans or pasta.  Cooking Light (I’m starting to feel like a shill for them) has some great ethnic vegetarian options.  We’ve both traveled to Morocco so this one seemed like a wonderful place to start.  The parsnips were slightly spicy for me personally, but Mel liked them.  I may make it with potato next time instead or another root type vegetable (fennel, or turnip?).
This tasted authentic to be sure, and I made one big variation, (which I’ll note below): I kicked up the spices to 3 teaspoons from 1.  This was a good solid recipe and we’ll do it again in the coming weeks!

5 cups diced peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled parsnips (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (See below for mixture — I used 3 teaspoons)
3 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces (about 9 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked couscous (I used a Far East box and upped the broth to 2 cups per the box)
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

TOPPING: (This was delightful, and gave a sweet edge to this)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, separated into rings
1/4 cup pine nuts (we used small pumpkin seeds–pine nuts were $16 a pound!)
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. To prepare couscous, combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place potato mixture on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; gently stir in chickpeas. Keep warm.

4. To prepare topping, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pine nuts and raisins; cook 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon; cook 30 seconds. Stir in honey, and remove from heat.

5. Mound couscous in the middle of a serving platter. Place the roasted vegetables around base of couscous. Arrange 5 carrots vertically around couscous; spoon topping over top of couscous.

Ras el Hanout
1/4 cup (serving size: 1/4 teaspoon)

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed (I didn’t bother since I didn’t have them)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

I recently started getting Cooking Light again, and this was in one of my first issues. To. Die. For. Seriously. If you like Tex-Mex, this slightly sweet tamale casserole is all that.  One of the reviewers online (100 reviews since October ’08) suggested forgoing the corn bread mix and using your own supplies, so I’ll include that below (although I had the corn muffin box in my pantry both times I’ve made it).

I’ve changed a couple of things: added an onion to the mix and put the chicken down on the bread before pouring on the enchilada sauce.  Enjoy!

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix  * (or see below)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 onion, chopped
Cooking spray
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 8 ingredients (through onion) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Top surface with chicken.  Pour enchilada sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

* Mix 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup yellow corn meal. Add 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt and mix before adding to the casserole.

Valentine’s Day

The poll is over and pretty much everyone chose a dinner for two…hope your v-day was wonderful!  Next holiday is St. Patrick’s Day, which was not a LaBelle tradition, however, I’m Irish on my father’s side and my good mother always made me wear green…I got a Martha Stewart recipe for corned beef and cabbage with soda bread.  I’m trying to see if I have time to make it…which segues nicely into the brand new poll, check it out!

Buttery Corn Bread

I posted a chili recipe a couple of days ago, it is great chili and worth the time it takes to make it. Oh, and by the way, it taste much better if left to simmer a while or even eaten the next day. But you can’t have chili without good corn bread. This is a sweet, buttery corn bread which really satisfies and tastes amazing right out of the oven. Hope you enjoy it.

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I cut down to 2/3 cup and added about three tablespoons of honey)
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups milk
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl. Cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and mild. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture.

Pour into a greased 13-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

Great Chili

My friend Kim at Kim…and her Coffee has begun a fun every other Wednesday post titled “Collecting Recipes Over Coffee”. I wanted to join in the fun and post a wonderful Chili recipe. I made this recipe this past week and also baked a delicious corn bread to go along with it. Kevin and Lance came back for seconds and would have had more if I didn’t put my foot down. I wanted to have the leftovers for dinner the next night.


1 (15 ounce) can chopped tomatoes (you can use the one with green chilies if you like)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, choppped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (or you can substitute chicken stock)
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup bottled steak sauce
5 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 (1.25 ounce) package chili seasoning mix
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (or chili beans)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot over medium-low heat, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, wine, pepper flakes, bell peppers and steak sauce.

While tomato mixture is simmering, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Cook beef or turkey in bacon drippings until brown; drain. Stir chili seasoning into ground beef.

Stir seasoned beef, cumin and bacon into tomato mixture. Continue to simmer until vegitables are tender and flavors are well blended.

Stir in beans, cilantro and parsley. Heat through and serve.

Pineapple Coconut Banana Bread

I found a good banana bread recipe and decided to embellish it a bit with pineapple and coconut. The results were amazing. This is definitely a very moist, sweet bread which will make it good to serve for breakfast. The only thing that could improve this recipe would be to top it with a pineapple coconut glaze. Yummmm…

1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
1 cup chopped pecans
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1-8oz. can crushed pineapple (I drained it well)
1/2 cup coconut

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients including the sugar and nuts. Stir and set aside.
In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well, add coconut.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until moist. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (my loaves were finished after an hour and 20 minutes)
Cool 10 minutes on a rack before removing from loaf pans.

Poll results

So the time limits on the first two polls are through and I learned that we really don’t need that long to make up our minds!  The carnitas recipe was well received with 3 votes for recommending and 2 votes for eating seconds…The winter blues are chased away by a good book (4 votes) accompanied by hot chocolate, tea, or soup (sorry popcorn!) with 2 votes a piece…which reminds me:  anyone and everyone is welcome to vote (please don’t feel like you have to be a LaBelle to chime in) and we need more book recommendations (cookbook or otherwise).  I have posted another poll so keep voting…

Devilish Angel Food Cake

I first made this for Lisa and Tim’s engagement party. A cinnamon chocolate angel food cake from Cooking Light that is to die for. Really. Very light and spongy, great to serve with berries and whipped cream (or a light whipped topping). I haven’t made it in a while, and don’t want to mess with it here in the altitude of mile high land, but I would suggest someone here try it and tell me how great it is!


2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, warm water, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating mixture until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, and fold flour mixture in gently.

Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; let cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow spatula; revert cake onto plate.

More with Less Cookbook

I love a very simple cookbook that comes from the Mennonite community called More with Less Cookbook.  I highly recommend it for simple recipes–nothing gourmet here, but hey, there’s a need for the basic recipes in life!  The book deals a lot with how we as American’s can consume less.  It’s got quite a bit about that in the beginning, and is fairly convicting.

Recipes we’ve done:
Beef Curry (love this one!)
Pizza Sauce/Dough
Peanut butter popcorn
Creamed Chicken with Corn Bread Dressing
Oatmeal Bread
Quick Chocolate Pudding
Fried Rice
I know we’ve done more but this should give you a sample.  Lots of people on Amazon talk about the simplicity of it, how it was great during tough financial times too.  Master Baking Mix, granola, lots of egg dishes, Chicken pot pie, ginger-glazed carrots, and lots of other things as well!  Each chapter ends with a “Gathering up the fragments” section with ideas on how to use what is leftover (like using bread to make your own croutons or bread crumbs).
I have the spiral bound version, and would highly recommend that over the paperback version.

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