February 24, 2009

Jen's Falafel Pitas, Homemade Hummus, and Glazed Carrots

I just got back from the grocery store a little while ago, and I am still a little lightheaded from the experience. Let's just say I was very close to a 'mommy meltdown'. My son simply does not behave at the grocery store. I don't know why...that is just how it goes with him. I think the fluorescent lights make him crazy or something! It is just bad no matter how you slice it. I usually skip taking him and go by myself when the husband is home to watch him. That way, I can take my time, look through all my coupons, and price shop. This week, I did not plan very well. I did not go to the store during my normally scheduled time...basically I procrastinated until today. (Yes, I waited until it was absolutely necessary to go, and I had to cart along my naughty almost-three-year old little boy.) Moreover, I had a ton of coupons to use and a bunch of groceries to purchase (which was another draw back to procrastination...I had a big shop to do). Rather than share all the gory details, let me just sum up...it was nightmarish. When I got home, I put everything away as quickly as I could, fed the boy lunch, and put him straight down for a nap. Next time, I will stick with my normal routine and leave him home with Daddy. Lesson learned!

Since I expended all of my sanity and energy at the grocery store, we will be having a simple dinner. Really, I am not in the mood for pouring a whole lot of effort into the family meal tonight. I bought some pre-made Falafel at Costco this past weekend, so I think Falafel Pitas sound really yummy. I think I will make a quick batch of hummus for topping, and then garnish our pitas with some diced onion, lettuce, and tomatoes. All in all, Falafel Pitas are pretty easy to put together. The Falafel's themselves just need a quick reheat in the microwave, since they are all pre-cooked. As a side dish, I will just throw together some steamed, glazed carrots and be done with it. That should be easy enough!!! I am looking forward to a stress-free dinner.

Jen's Falafel Pitas

pita bread of your choice (I like Naan or a flat-bread pita)
2-3 falafel patties per sandwich (I am using pre-made)
lettuce of your choice (I like romaine or baby spinach)
sliced red onion
sliced tomato
sliced cucumber
Tzatziki sauce or hummus for topping (recipe to follow)
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Cook Falafel according to package directions. Place in pita with other ingredients of your choice. Eat like a sandwich.

Jen's Homemade Hummus: Plain

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (aka garbanzo
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or light sour cream
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 garlic cloves (depending on how sharp and garlicy you like it)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup of feta cheese
2 Tablespoons of tahini

In food processor blender, puree all the ingredients with 1-2 tablespoon water. Add more olive oil and salt, if needed.

Jen’s Notes:
This recipe can be easily doubled. All measurements are approximate.

I don't think I have ever included my glazed carrots recipe on my blog, although I know I have mentioned it many times. This is an easy, foolproof way to cook delicious carrots. Here it is...the quantities will need to be increased if you have a large amount of carrots to cook.

Jen's Glazed Carrots

whole, peeled, fresh carrots: diced into coins (make sure they are all the same size)
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 Tablespoon of butter
Steamer basket insert

Place an inch to an inch and a half of water into the bottom of a sauce pan. Place steamer basket into water-filled sauce pan. Place raw carrot coins into steamer basket insert with lid partially (cracked) open. Steam raw carrots until soft and tender, generally about 15-20 minutes (maybe a little longer, depending on if you have a lot of carrots to cook). Test for doneness by piercing carrot coins with a fork to see if they are soft/cooked through. Remove carrots to a bowl and toss with sugar, salt, and butter. Serve immediately.

The Result:
This was super-yummy! It was just what I needed for a no-brainer dinner. Best of all, it was totally vegetarian. I did not realize that until I finished my post yesterday and applied all the tags. I have fallen a bit behind with my vegetarian meals, so it was nice to get one in this week. Actually, in looking at my menu plan, I think I have another one slotted for later this week...so that makes two.

The pitas themselves were so good. I used Naan bread which we just bend into pita sandwiches to eat. My pic shows it open (like a tostada of sorts),but I only photographed it that way so you guys could check out the pita filling itself. A lot of people ask me what Falafel is, so these photos show these little chickpea patties in all their glory! On another note, I love my homemade hummus. If you have a fully stocked spice cabinet, it is very inexpensive to make...and usually tastier than store bought versions. This time, it was a little spicier than I would have liked, since I slipped and sprinkled a little too much cayenne pepper into the mix. My family likes spicy foods, so it was really no big thing. Also, I was experimenting with flavors and added a pinch of ground cinnamon. It sounds strange, but it was really good. Well, I liked it...the husband was not too sure. I just wanted to try something a little different, and I really like cinnamon in savory applications. Overall, this was a totally satisfying and easy meal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes. I love that you called that hummus "plain!" I've never considered making it w/yogurt and feta-I bet that adds a nice earthy tang to the whole mix:)