Fiber Stew, Take 2, and Other Veggie Tales

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January 7, 2008 by 8junebugs

I need a bigger crockpot. Or perhaps a Dutch oven. My crockpot is small and ill-suited to all-day cooking…which is rather uncrockpotty of it.

On Saturday, I made another “let’s clean out the pantry” stew-like concoction that, yes, is meant only for me. Mike shares with me a focus on clean proteins, low-fat dairy, and limited carbs, but Fiber Stew really isn’t his first choice. I’m not positive, but I think, with a gun to his head and a choice between my Fiber Stew and possum liver, the possum’s a goner.

So I’m on my own here.

This round’s ingredients:

2 cans diced tomatoes of varying size
1 can pumpkin puree (stay with me)
1 c. baby carrots, sliced lengthwise
1 can chick peas
some chopped mushrooms I had in the fridge
about 1 cup of chicken stock

Chuck all of this in an appropriately sized crock and cook it on low until the carrots are fork-tender. Stir occasionally.

About the pumpkin… A colleaugue suggested it while we were discussing alternative veggie uses. She knew about my last fiber stew and thought pumpkin puree would thicken it up (which it needed) and add a sweet balance to the acid of the tomatoes. And she was right. I recognize that there’s nothing appetizing about the list of ingredients, but trust me on this — it is pretty tasty. I had some leftover seared ahi tuna from last night’s dinner, which made an awesome addition. Before making Buchons au Thons I would never have combined tuna with tomato, but it works.

Also, I made spaghetti squash last week for the first time. It’s the easiest thing in the world to cook — halve it, scrape it, and bung it the oven (face down on a cookie sheet) until you can stick a fork into the shell. (About 30+ minutes at 375, I think?) When you take it out and turn it over, just start lightly scraping down the sides with a fork and you’ll see where it gets its name. Twirl the “noodles” into a dish and top with whatever you like. I used a plain tomato sauce with onions, garlic, Italian seasonings and a bit of red pepper flake, then grated some pecorino romano over it.

I think I could have gotten away with just the pecorino.

Don’t expect it to taste like spaghetti, though. It tastes like squash — sweet and crunchy, a little watery, maybe. It’s just more fun than the oversweet orange mush my mom used to make me eat at holidays. (I will never forgive my parents for the things they did to vegetables.)

It’s also dirt cheap, cash- and calorie-wise, through most of the winter. I may not be a starving student anymore, but my produce needs cut into the grocery budget, so cheap veggies (and pantry stews) are always useful.

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