Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vegetable Paella (Belated Meatless Monday)

I am still trying to get caught up with life after my trip to NYC.  My desk looks like Sidney had her way with it.  Papers everywhere.  Stacks of mail, some opened, some not.  Bills, so many bills.  To do lists stuck to every surface.  It seriously overwhelms me.  Of course, I'd forget it all and go back to NY in a heartbeat.

Meatless Monday: As it turns out, we eat a lot of meatless meals.  Since I was a kid, I've never been a big meat eater and over the years my husband has learned to enjoy vegetarian meals.  We're even attempting to grow some of our own vegetables and herbs this year.  Our town built a community garden and it just opened a couple of weeks ago.  The weather had been amazing lately so while I was in NY, Tim, Ava and my mother-in-law planted our seedlings in our plot.  Then in the past couple of days the temperatures have dropped to almost freezing at night!  I hope our garden is still in tact.  I have yet to see our little garden, but they took some pictures for me.

 Ava and Nana working hard.
 Ava picked out the purple sunflower pinwheel for our garden.
Tim and Ava with the finished product.

Back to Belated Meatless Monday.  The first time I made this meal I ended up in the emergency room with severe burns to my hand.  The second time I made this meal, I actually burned myself again, but nothing that required a hospital visit (I don't think I mentioned this to Tim - I'm sure he would have required that I take a safety class on how to avoid burning myself when cooking just like with the knife incidents.  I sense you are siding with Tim right now.).  I'm happy to say (knock on wood) that I have not had any bad experiences when making this meal since the second burning.  I think I learned my lesson.  If you are brave enough to try this out, you will be well rewarded.  This is such a deliciously filling and healthy (I found the recipe in Shape magazine) meal.  And of course, there will be left overs.


6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1/8 tsp saffron
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups short-grain brown rice
1 small bunch thin asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 canned artichoke hearts, halved
1 cup frozen peas (I forgot these in the freezer when I took the picture above!)


1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. 

2.  In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer and stir in saffron, paprika, cayenne, and salt.  Remove from heat; set aside.

3.  Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat.  I use a 3 quart skillet and it's just big enough.  Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

4.  Add tomatoes and rice to the skillet; stir to combine. 

5.  Pour reserved broth into skillet and bring to a boil. 
6.  Cover and place in the oven for 60 minutes.  I use foil to cover the top of the skillet.  Be sure to use your oven mitt if covering with foil!

7.  Remove skillet from oven, uncover, and place asparagus and artichokes on top, pushing vegetables into the rice. Scatter peas over the top. Cover and return to oven for 10 minutes. Don't forget to use your oven mitt to put the skillet back in the oven, that's where I went wrong...
8.  Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more, or until all broth is absorbed.
9.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I forgot to take a picture of the paella when it came out of the oven.  It looked much prettier then.  This picture above was taken after dinner.  It still makes me hungry just looking at it.

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