If your oven space is at a premium while preparing your thanksgiving feast, why not employ your BBQ? This recipe for grilled veggie salad can be made quickly and bonus … you can prepare it in advance. In fact the whole thing tastes better when it has had the opportunity to marinate in the fridge for half a day. So, throw the veggies on the BBQ right after you get the turkey in the oven or even before!
I am providing a list of ingredients for the salad I made but really; just use what you have on hand. The amounts you use will depend on how many people are joining you for the giving of thanks.
The recipe that follows will make a nice side-dish for six.
ingredients for the salad …
- 1 ear of corn, shucked
- 1 medium sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 purple onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 red pepper, seeded & cut into thirds
- 1 yellow pepper, seeded & cut into thirds
- 12 spears of asparagus, woody part of stems removed
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, cut in half, washed and patted dry
- 1/3 C olive oil
ingredients for the vinaigrette …
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a press
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- ½ C oil
- Pre-heat your BBQ to medium-high for about 15 minutes with the lid down while you prep your vegetables.
- Place all the veggies, except the romaine lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil (hold 1 T of the oil in reserve) over-top. Gently toss the vegetables so they all get evenly coated with the oil.
- Lift the lid of the BBQ and spread the veggies around on the lower grill rack. Using long-handled tongs, flip them over and move them around so all sides of each vegetable gets cooked evenly. Some vegetables will grill faster than others so keep a close eye on them all, removing each from the heat when done.
- Brush the romaine halves with the reserved oil and place, flat side down on the lower rack of the BBQ. Grill for a few minutes until nicely charred. Remove and set aside to cool with the other vegetables.
- When cool enough to handle slice the grilled corn kernels from the cob and place them in a bowl large enough to handle all of the salad ingredients. Cut the remaining veggies into chunks, except the romaine, and transfer to the same bowl.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the Dijon mustard, minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Trickle the oil into these ingredients in a slow, steady stream while continuing to vigorously whisk it altogether. This action works to emulsify the oil into the rest of the ingredients, creating perfectly blended vinaigrette.
- Use half of the vinaigrette on this salad, reserving the rest for another day.
- Cover and refigerate until feasting time.
- Cut the charred romaine into chunks and toss into the salad right before serving.
As you know, I’ve recently been thumbing my way through, Jerusalem, a cookbook by Yotam Ottalenghi and Sami Tamimi. Today I am sharing a slightly tweaked version of a traditional Arabic casserole. Maqluba means “Upside-down” and that’s exactly how this savoury chicken and veggie casserole is presented. Once cooked, the pot, layered with tasty food is flipped over and if luck is with you, the casserole drops out in one piece onto the awaiting platter. Last night luck was with us and, posted here you see the results.
Traditionally the veggies are fried before being layered into the casserole dish but I roasted mine instead. This way, less oil was used and the vegetable flavours were deepened and intensified during the roasting process.
Now, the list of ingredients might seem long and daunting but really, most of what you see below is various spices. They add distinctive flavours to this upside-down casserole making it hard to resist.
- 1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1/2 ” slices
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 large onion, cut into quarters lengthwise
- ½ medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets
- ¼ C olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp kosher salt & grinding of pepper
- 1 C basmati rice
- 8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
- ¼ C cooking oil
- 1 ½ C chicken broth (or water)
- 1 small onion, cut into quarter sections
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Lay the eggplant pieces out flat on a piece of paper towel. Lightly sprinkle both sides with salt. Leave for 15 – 20 minutes. Beads of moisture will appear on the eggplant surface during this time. Pat the slices dry.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Coat the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, onion quarters, and cauliflower with the olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Spread the veggies out on one or two baking pans lined with parchment paper and place on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven. Roast the vegetables for about 40 minutes removing individual veggie slices/pieces as they are done.
- Cover the rice with water and leave it to soak for at least ½ hr.
- While the rice is soaking and vegetables are roasting, heat the 2 T of cooking oil in a large heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. Brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Add the broth or water to the pan, along with the onion halves, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil then lower the heat so the broth is just simmering. Cover with lid and braise for 20 minutes. Remove chicken using a slotted spoon and strain the chicken broth. Set both chicken pieces and broth aside for later use.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the casserole pot you will use to assemble the Maqluba. Select a pot that has a tight fitting lid and doesn’t slope inward from bottom to top. The sides should be straight up and down with the top opening of the pot being the same size as the bottom of the pot (see what I used pictured below). Spray the sides of the pot with cooking oil.
- Now it’s time to layer the casserole. First place the roasted cherry tomatoes on the bottom followed by the roasted slices of eggplant. The chicken thighs come next followed by the roast onion sections and cauliflower florets. Strain the soaked rice and distribute it evenly across the top layer of the casserole. Press everything down firmly.
- Add the remaining spices (turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper) to the reserved chicken broth and stir. Slowly pour enough of the chicken broth mixture over the last casserole layer to completely cover the rice. Cover the pot with its lid.
- Place the covered pot on the middle rack of the 350 F oven. Bake for one hour. Leave it for a bit longer if there is liquid that still needs to absorb and reduce. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before flipping onto platter. Good luck but don’t worry; the Maqluba tastes great even if it’s not in one piece when served.
Garnish with lightly browned pine nuts if desired.
Here’s an easy recipe for using up bananas that have become too ripe. I usually have several over-ripe bananas in the freezer ready for banana mug muffins or a breakfast smoothie. Ready in five minutes, this easy version of banana bread serves one. You simply mix the ingredients up in a microwavable mug and pop it into the microwave. As you know, Glenn and I are lowering our carb intake these days. Now I know banana is usually on the hit list for low carb dieters but we still eat a small amount of banana now and then. If you are watching your carb intake, this mug muffin will add 9.9 G of carbohydrates in total to your daily count.
- ½ ripe banana, mashed
- 1 T melted butter
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 T stevia sweetener or sucralose (I use Sugar Twin Stevia Sweetener)
- 1 T PB2 powder or 1 T peanut butter (see note about PB2 below)
- 1 T coconut flour
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of Salt
- Place banana in a microwavable mug and mash into a smooth paste.
- Add the egg, melted butter & vanilla and mix all the wet ingredients together with a fork until well blended.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients (PB2 powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt) and using the fork mix everything together right in the mug.
- Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 ½ minutes. My microwave is 1000 watts so I use the shorter time.
Yield: 1 serving
For those who prefer to use an oven: Pre-heat oven to 350 F and bake the muffin for 15 minutes.
Note: You may be wondering what PB2 powder is. Well, it’s a mighty fine addition to the pantry for anyone who likes peanut butter but is watching their calorie intake. PB2 powder is made from slow roasted peanuts that have been pressed to remove 85% of the fat and oil. The resulting powder is full of peanut flavour and is great for use in recipes like this Banana Nut Mug Muffin.I purchase PB2 online from: The Low Carb Grocery