Cajun Dirty Rice with Eggplant ♥

Today's easy recipe: How to make Cajun dirty rice with much-reduced calories and carbs, thanks to the addition of "dirty" eggplant instead of chicken livers or gizzards. Weight Watchers, you're going to love this one, just one PointsPlus per serving! Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Our friends Mark and Lisa give a Mardi Gras party every year. But sad-so-sad, we've yet been able to attend. But happy-so-happy, 2014 is our year! It's quite the bash so I've been experimenting with Cajun-style dishes. One Friday awhile back, I cooked red beans for Red Beans & Rice, a Cajun Pot Roast and Dirty Rice with Eggplant. What a meal!

WHAT IS "DIRTY RICE" Now after dinner, there's a pile of dirty dishes and a kid who plays outside is likely to come in with dirty clothes and we all know scoundrels who play dirty tricks. But "dirty" rice, what in dirt i…

Buffalo Chicken Dip with a Surprise Ingredient: Spaghetti Squash! ♥

Today's easy-easy appetizer recipe: Buffalo Chicken Dip with a surprise ingredient, spaghetti squash! Now before you go thinkin', Spaghetti squash is a weird thing to put in Buffalo Chicken Dip, know that the spaghetti squash bulks up the dip, lowering the calories, but it's so mild and soft, it almost "melts" into the dip. If you don't know it's there? You don't know it's there.
Real Food. Low-Fat. Low-Carb. High-Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.
So what is it, really, that people love about "buffalo" anything? You know. Buffalo wings. Buffalo chicken. Buffalo deviled eggs. Buffalo hummus. Buffalo mac n cheese. Buffalo pizza. Buffalo quinoa. These, of course, are the hot-sauce hopped-up versions of their plain and often bland selves.

Now I ask about what we love about "buffalo" recipes as representative of a rare breed, someone who's actually cooked a real buffalo – yes, a whole buffalo, all 700-some pounds of dressed…

Easy-Easy Barely Roasted Zucchini & Yellow Squash ♥

Today's extra-easy vegetable side dish recipe: Big chunks of zucchini and yellow squash roasted but just barely, leaving some bite. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". All that good stuff and did I mention yet, really really good, too?
So people, really, it is still January. Enough with the cupcakes! and the cookies! and over-the-top Superbowl party food! Enough! It.Is.Still.January.

And besides, isn't January food, you know, the food that we should eat "most" of the time, our "every day" food? And aren't all the bazillions of sugar-butter-flour combinations we come up with, even the so-called “healthy ones”) aren't these "December" food and "every once in awhile" food?

We each of us make our own food choices but I happen to love the spareness that is January. Doesn't it just feel good? Less food. Less-rich food. Less fussy food. January is a great …

Vegetable Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Chipotle ♥

Today's vegan vegetable chili recipe: A confetti of colorful vegetables warmed with chili spices. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
What is it about chili, anyway? My recipe calendar reports that this kitchen has produced eight pots of chili since the weather turned cooler. We've made eggs and oatmeal and salads more often but other than that, if it's a food race, chili wins, hands down.

With a freezer full of meat and more on the way, no surprise, our chilis tend toward meaty affairs. But ever since tasting the Three-Bean Chipotle Chili from The Wolf, a fun little scratch-cooking spot not far from here, my taste buds have longed for another all-vegetable chili, a small bowl for lunch, a spoonful or two on the side of a poached egg in the morning, a small measure spread on a Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda). I've toned the heat back, waaaaay back in fact, but this is a chili that's easy …

Rustic Tomato Basil Soup ♥

Today's vegetable soup recipe: It's Tomato Basil gone all rustic, showing off its pretty red, green and – hey! what's that orange stuff? - colors. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Across the country, lots of people are seeing "white" this weekend. Me, I learned two things, not bad for just coming off the holidays, eh?!

Our new glass-on-two-sides kitchen is a lovely during a snowstorm: warm and cozy inside, so white and windy outside, like being out in the middle of a snowstorm but warm and dry with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. Keep it comin,' Old Man Winter, today was a good day!
Yeah, yeah, I know, the basil came from a pricey plastic package. But even for a committed seasonal cook, to my taste Tomato Basil Soup is a winter soup not a summer soup. Usually, it's blended until smooth but I found the tomatoes and carrots and basil so pretty, I left it in its natural rustic state. What…

Best Vegetable Recipes of 2013 ♥

Your favorite vegetable recipes of 2013 from A Veggie Venture, one per month, all in one handy spot for easy reference. Yes, this year I'm featuring your favorite recipes, the vegetable recipes which you and other readers and visitors come back to again and again, all year long.
It's that time of year, the week when we food bloggers look back over a year's worth of recipes and pick our favorites! I love-love-love this process! It really helps us hone our recipe collections, highlighting the best of the already very good, especially for sites like A Veggie Venture and my food column Kitchen Parade which by design, already post only really good recipes, the ones that work, the ones that are special or especially useful. (Here's the 2013 favorite recipes from Kitchen Parade too.)

But I also love all the many sources of "best of the year" lists for movies, books, gadgets, etc. So this year, I'm collecting "best of the year" lists on Pinterest. F…

Easy Appetizer: Hot Corn Dip ♥

Today's easy appetizer recipe: Just five pantry ingredients and ten minutes, that's all it takes to put this appetizer together.
Are you good at appetizers? Me, not so much. :-( But this Hot Corn Dip was a hit on Christmas Eve afternoon during our annual family open house for forty or fifty or some times sixty people – I never count, we're just happy that the extended family is in one place for a few hours. But right, the dip. So yes, I watched one person after another dip a Frito corn chip into the hot dip and then go back for another, each time savoring the cheesy warmth.

For a casual New Year's, for an upcoming playoff game and the Superbowl, this is a winner!