Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Summer Pasta Salad

24 Jun

It’s officially summer time! And with the summer solstice, it certainly got dang hot in North Carolina. And muggy. And gross. I’m sweaty all the time. But just for the record, this is NOT a complaint. I most certainly prefer this weather to anything below 60 degrees. Though we’ll see if I’m willing to negotiate that number come July. It’s maxed out at 90 so far, so I may change my mind once it gets into the triple digits.

I went to my nephew’s 6th birthday party on Saturday, which meant hot dogs and pasta salad and cake and ice cream. Yum. That night, I was heading to a potluck for a friend’s housewarming party, and I hadn’t any ideas. But the pasta salad was good inspiration, and I decided to make my own.

IMG_1914

My mom and sister make a very simple, classic pasta salad: noodles, olives, and feta cheese, all held together with Italian salad dressing. I expanded on the idea by adding a bunch of veggies I had in the fridge from our CSA delivery. I left out the olives though: disgusting.

When you make this, there are only two basic things to know:

Girard's

1) Use Girard’s Italian dressing. For reals, it’s the best. And don’t put it on until within an hour or so of serving it. If you put it on too far in advance, the pasta will soak up the dressing, and you’ll have to add more to get more flavor, which is just wasteful, both of the delicious dressing and of calories. If you need to make it in advance, just put everything together except the dressing, and add that when you’re ready. Easy peasy.

2) My family’s basic ratio is a pound of pasta to a bottle of dressing. I cut it to about 3/4 of the bottle, but go with what works for you. As long as you keep that ratio, you can then add whatever fresh, raw veggies you want.

Oh, here’s another tip! Let the pasta air-dry a little bit before you mix everything together. If there’s too much water, the oil-based dressing won’t stick. (But if the pasta is too dry, it will absorb all the oil and flavor.)

The cool thing about this dish is its versatility. You can add whatever veggies you and your family like, so it’s completely and easily customizable. And it can easily serve as a side to hot dogs and burgers OR as a cold main dish, perfect for a hot summer night. Add some beans — edamame would be awesome! — and it would be an even better main course.

IMG_1911

Summer Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta, preferably rotini or bowtie (farfalle)
1 bottle Girard’s Italian dressing
feta cheese, crumbled
1 zucchini, diced and quartered
1 yellow squash, diced and quartered
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 handful grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Boil the pasta to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Chop the vegetables. Place pasta and veggies in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing. Add crumbled feta cheese, to taste.

Toss and serve.

Note: For a vegan dish, omit the feta. For gluten-free, substitute rice-based or other gluten-free pasta for the rotini.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Link Party Wednesday from Lil’ Luna
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog
Link Party Thursday from Somewhat Simple

Curry Coconut Vegetable Stew

17 Jun

Oh my goodness, y’all, so I finally got around to finishing this last season of Revolution, and let me just say, after those last 10 minutes, my mind = blown. I almost gave up on that show because I thought the middle part of the season was getting kind of lame, but it really picked up there at the end. And that last scene? Whaaat? I don’t even know what to think.

Okay, Revolution is not at all related to this recipe, but I just had to get that out of my system. I don’t know anyone who watches that show, so I never get to talk about it. Onto the stew!

I had a ton of veggies in my fridge, and not much else. And I was looking for something easy, so what better than a soup? The thing I love about soups is that they’re easy to customize based on preference and available resources. Don’t like greens? Leave ’em out. Got zucchini but no squash? Whatever, that’s fine.  If you stick to similar weights/amounts, and then just use whatever suits you, you’ll be fine. And actually, I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, just ’cause that’s what I had.

Mmm... Stew

This is a really hearty stew. The rice and beans definitely fill you up. But the coconut curry flavor keeps it light enough to eat year-round. And it’s super healthy too. The coconut and curry flavors are delicious and definitely noticeable, but not so strong that you don’t still taste the vegetables themselves. You definitely want to stick with fresh vegetables, for that reason. Don’t bother with canned or frozen — just use whatever’s fresh in season.

You can’t really see it in the picture, but there’s definitely some liquid down in the bottom there. It’s soup-y the first go-round, and thickens up to more of a stew texture when eaten as leftovers. Both are equally delicious. As you’re cooking, try to keep the lid on the pot as much as possible so you don’t lose too much liquid. That way, at the end, if it’s too runny, you can simmer with the cover off for a little while to reduce it. But it’s hard to go the other direction.

Don’t forget that when it’s ready, you have to shout, “Soup’s on!” :)

So many veggies!

Curry Coconut Vegetable Stew

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup white basmati rice
3/4 lb potatoes, diced
1/4 lb carrots, sliced
1 Tablespoon curry powder
salt and pepper
1 tomato, diced
1/2 lb squash, sliced
1/2 lb zucchini, sliced
1/2 lb green beans, ends removed and cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 lb greens (chard and kale)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can light coconut milk

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.

Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the curry powder, salt, and pepper. Add the tomato, squash, zucchini, and green beans. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.

Add in the greens. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted.

Stir in the black beans and coconut milk. Cook until heated through. Serve hot.

Soup's On!

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday Link-Up from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Zucchini-Rutabaga Fritters

29 Apr

Fritters? Latkes? Hashbrowns? Something like that. But with zucchini and rutabaga instead of white potato, they were just as delicious (especially when dipped in ketchup) but way healthier. Plus it was a great way to use up what will hopefully be the last of my winter CSA vegetables. (I am getting real tired of roots and greens.)

These do have a bit of flour in them, but if you’re gluten-free or doing the paleo thing, substitute almond flour, and it will be just as good.

Fritters

I guess technically these are a side dish and would be great as the starch alongside a main course. But I’ve had them as a main dish along with sauteed greens or a salad. They’re definitely versatile and would be appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

As with most of my root-vegetable recipes, you can use pretty much any combination of root vegetables you have on hand. Straight-up zucchini would be good, using some sweet potato would be delicious. Whatever. Use your imagination.

It took some time to prepare these, mostly just because it takes a while to grate vegetables. But the nice thing about it was that I fried up a bunch of them and saved extras in the fridge. They were really easy to re-heat (in the convection oven, baking on 350 until warm) and have as a snack or as part of a quick, last-minute meal.

You may like these served latke-style with sour cream and apple sauce. I preferred them with ketchup, like hashbrowns. Yum.

Fritters2

Zucchini and Rutabaga Fritters adapted from SlimPalate.com

1 medium zucchini (about 200 g)
1 medium rutabaga (about 200 g)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup flour (or almond flour, to be gluten-free)
1/4 cup parmigiana reggiano, grated and packed down
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying (I used garlic grapeseed oil)

Grate zucchini and rutabaga with a medium-sized grater. Add a dash of salt. Place shredded vegetables in a clean paper towel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible.

Place in a large bowl and add beaten eggs, garlic, flour, cheese, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and wait for the pan to get hot. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture to the pan. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease.  Serve with sides of salt, pepper, sour cream, applesauce, and/or ketchup.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack

Green Smoothies

17 Mar

If you’ve been following my posts about the CSA we’re doing, you know that I’ve been having these for breakfast almost every morning. And I haven’t gotten tired of them! They’re so easy and super fast. If you get bored, you can also add in new fruits, veggies, flavors, and other ingredients to the mix. Don’t be turned off by the idea of greens in your smoothie! When you add enough fruits, you don’t taste the greens at all. It tastes like a delicious fruit smoothie, and you get the added benefit of an extra serving of veggies. Kinda like those V8 fruit/veggie juice things.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned while experimenting with smoothies. It’s a lot, so if you’re not in the mood to read my dissertation, just jump to my recipe for a basic green smoothie at the bottom.

Mmm... green

Shopping & Prep

I recommend buying organic greens — since they don’t have a peel or skin, they can absorb a high amount of pesticides and chemicals. For other fruits and veggies, I refer to the Dirty Dozen list (a list of veggies that you should always buy organic). But mostly, I follow this rule: If it doesn’t have a skin (greens) or if I eat the skin (apples), I buy organic. If it has a thick peel that I don’t eat (bananas, citrus, avocado), I don’t bother with organic. I do buy organic dairy products (yogurt, milk, etc).

I have learned to prepare my fruits and veggies way in advance, which makes it a breeze (about 3 minutes) to prepare breakfast each morning. For example, my freezer currently contains a bag of diced fresh pineapple, banana slices, and apple chunks, and I have strawberries and blueberries in the fridge.

I have not bothered with any fancy equipment. I’ve read some blogs that say you need a super expensive blender in order to get a well-blended smoothie, but I’m not spending that much money. I use a knock-off Magic Bullet single-serving blender that my mom got me for probably less than $40. Maybe I’m missing out on incredibly well-blended smoothies, but I doubt it.

Greens

To ensure that your greens blend in smoothly, blend your greens with your liquid first, and then add the rest of your ingredients. You can use any kind of greens, but each is going to be slightly different.

When I get a big bunch of greens, I go ahead and wash them and store them right in my salad spinner. Then they’re ready for each morning, when I pull out a couple handfuls and rip them up just a bit while I stuff them into the blender.

I learned from a little internet research that many greens, especially those from the brassica/cruciferous family (pretty much everything on my list except for spinach and lettuce) have a natural chemical that can disrupt hormone function. This is really not an issue for most people because you’d have to eat a TON of greens every single day. But since I already have thyroid problems (and my spring CSA has given me almost entirely brassica vegetables), I was a little more concerned. The good news is that cooking them can help. So for brassica greens, I wash them, rip them up a bit, steam them, and then store them in a bowl in the fridge. Then each morning I can just pull some up and stuff them into the blender. Easy peasy.

  • Lettuce: Easiest to mask their flavor because they’re super mild. But of course, they also have the least nutritional benefits. If you’re really not sure about green smoothies, start here and work your way up to something a little more green. OR… this can be a great way to use up slightly wilted salad lettuce. I used butterhead, which was great. Romaine would be great too.
  • Spinach: A classic in green smoothies. More health benefits then lettuce but still an easy flavor to mask with fruits.
  • Kale: A standard in green smoothies. Super healthy! To prepare for a smoothie, I prefer to cut the stems out before I chop them up. If you don’t mind yours a little chunky, keep the stems. They’re edible and full of nutrients. When blended, you may see some flecks, but you won’t notice any chunks when drinking. Check your teeth afterward though.
  • Turnip greens: They blend really smoothly. They have a slightly more green taste, but not noticeable if you blend in stronger or sweeter flavors like banana and sweet juices.
  • Kohlrabi leaves: Same as turnip greens.
  • Collards: Same as turnip greens.
  • Beet leaves: Really mild flavor. A great way to use up greens that you usually throw away. They will turn your smoothie pink instead of green.
  • Mustard greens: No. Don’t do it. Gross.

Liquids

For the liquid, I started off with orange-peach-mango juice from Trader Joe’s. It was incredibly delicious, but a little too much sugar to start off my morning. As I grew accustomed to the green-ness of the smoothies, I started cutting back on sugars. Apple juice is a good option — it’s lower in sugar and acids. These days, I usually mix about half apple juice and half almond milk. Prune juice can also be a good option if you need some natural assistance in that department — just be careful not to overdo it.

For a thickener, I always include yogurt. With that addition and the fact that I don’t freeze all my mix-ins, my smoothie comes out more like the consistency of a drinkable yogurt than a frozen smoothie. I prefer Greek yogurt since it adds more protein to my breakfast, helping me feel fuller longer and have a bit more energy. And as with the juice, I started off with vanilla or blueberry and have gradually progressed to plain yogurt, with the goal of cutting out extra sugar.

Mix-ins

Any fruit is great. Banana is the best for masking other flavors, plus it makes your smoothie a little thicker and smoother. I use pineapple with almost every smoothie. I’ve also used strawberry, blueberry, apple, and clementines — basically whatever I have laying around.

I’ve also mixed in veggies, either in addition to or instead of the greens. Carrot is a great option — it goes well with apple juice and bananas. Mixing in a few leftover turnip pieces didn’t change the flavor at all but did give it a slightly powdery, grainy texture. Beets are good too — they go well with apple and pineapple.

Keep in mind that some mix-ins will change the color of your smoothie, if that’s the sort of thing that bothers you. Mixing warm (red, orange) and cool (green, blue) colors will usually result in a brown color, which isn’t particularly appetizing. Though sometimes I just do it and drink it from an opaque cup. Mixing cool colors (greens and blueberries) will usually result in a cool blue color. Just think back to your elementary-school paint palette, and you’ll be fine.

Green smoothie

Okay, that is way more information than I thought I would share, so if that’s too much for you, here’s a recipe. Just try it. You’ll be glad you did.

Green Smoothie

1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup packed steamed spinach or other greens (use 1 1/2 to 2 cups if not steamed)
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
apple juice or almond milk to taste

Blend the juice and greens together until greens are thoroughly chopped.

Add the banana, pineapple, and yogurt. Blend until smooth.

Add more juice or almond milk until smoothie reaches desired consistency. Blend well.

After you try this, experiment a little! Add whatever you have and whatever you like. That’s the beauty of a smoothie — you can’t make it wrong. Enjoy!

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Sweet Potato Fries

11 Mar

Yep, I said sweet potato fries. Oh my goodness, these were so delicious. They were so good, I made another batch 2 days later! We had some sweet potatoes from this week’s CSA, so this seemed like a great way to use them.

I had never used my mandoline before, so I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t quite as easy to use (or as easy to clean!) as I hoped it would be, but it still worked great. It sliced up my potatoes to a pretty consistent size and left a nice ridged surface for salt and pepper to hold on to. If you have one, use it, and then make your husband clean up afterward. But if not, just slice your potatoes thinly.

The recipe below is a very loose outline. Since everyone likes their fries with different flavors and textures and degrees of crispiness, make it your own. We enjoyed ours lightly salted, slightly crispy, and served alongside a super yummy veggie burger. Don’t forget the ketchup and the barbecue sauce!

Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes
Olive oil or grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Slice the sweet potatoes in thin rounds. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Pour a small amount oil over the potatoes. Toss until potatoes have a light, even coating. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 425 F for 35-45 minutes or until potatoes reach desired crispiness.

Or chips?

 

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Garlic Mashed Rutabagas

25 Feb

We got rutabagas in our CSA this week. Having never seen one before, I had to do a bit of research. Here’s what I found:

Rutabaga!

  • It’s a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. In English-speaking countries outside of North America, it’s more commonly referred to as a “Swedish turnip.”
  • It’s in the brassica family, so it’s related to turnips, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. Rutabagas have loads of nutritional value.
  • You can eat any part of the rutabaga! Some ideas: The root/bulb and stems can be sliced and diced and added to a stir fry. The bulb can be mashed like mashed potatoes. The leaves can be cooked like any greens, sauteed and added to pastas or soups, or used raw in green smoothies.
  • Pretty much anything you’d do to a potato or sweet potato, you can do to the rutabaga bulb. It’s like a healthier, more nutrient-rich, less-starchy, delicious version of potato.

For dinner, we decided to try garlic mashed rutabagas. The BF and I spent a considerable amount of time shouting “rutabaga!” while cooking. It just is a necessary part of cooking a veggie with such a weird name.

Mash 'em up

I thought it was delicious. It tastes so much like the butter and garlic I added, I really didn’t think it was all that different from mashed potatoes. Give this a try! Even if you still include the unhealthy dairy mixed into it, rutabagas are still way healthier than potatoes. They have about 36 calories and 8 grams of carbs, compared 77 calories and 18 grams of carbs in a white potato. I added some plain Greek yogurt to make it a little creamier. That allowed me to reduce the amount of milk and butter.

Smashed

They’re a little more yellow than potatoes. I like ’em smashed, not mashed. Or shmashed. Whichever. We had garlic mashed rutabagas with barbecue pork chops and a green salad. Yum-o! (And just for the record, I did eat more salad than what’s pictured here. Gotta get your veggies!)

Dinner's ready!

Garlic Mashed Rutabagas, with inspiration from Paula Deen

My sincere apologies that this isn’t a real recipe. I didn’t measure anything! Here’s my recommendation: take your favorite mashed potato recipe, and follow that, subbing rutabagas for the white potatoes. It’s that simple.

2 rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-2″ chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
plain Greek yogurt
milk
butter
salt & pepper

Peel the rutabagas and cut them into small chunks. Place in a large pot and cover completely with water. Add a few dashes of salt. Bring to a rapid boil, and then simmer 35-40 minutes until tender.

Drain the rutabagas. While they’re draining, add the garlic and a little butter to the pot. Heat over medium or medium-low until you can smell the garlic, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Return rutabagas to the pot and smash with a fork or potato masher. Add a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt and a splash of milk. Mix well. Add butter to taste, and/or serve with a pat of butter on top.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou

Kale & White Bean Soup

18 Feb

I was a little skeptical about a kale soup. It sounded just a little too… healthy. But I ended up loving this.

Each week when we receive our CSA, the nonprofit who provides it highlights an ingredient and a recipe for that ingredient. This week was kale, which I found out is rich in antioxidants and vitamins K, A, and C.

Since I had a ton of greens (it’s that time of year!), I decided to go ahead and try out the kale and white bean soup recipe that the CSA people shared with us. I followed the instructions but halved the amount.

Kale & Bean Soup

I thought it was a very delicious soup, especially when I dipped a hunk of baguette in it. It has a vegetable Italian -ish flavor, maybe kind of like a minestrone. And it didn’t occur to me until after I made it, but this dish is both vegan and gluten-free, so if you have dietary restrictions, this is a great option. Though if you want to substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth, you certainly could.

I added in a tablespoon of flax seed, which adds fiber and serves as a thickener. It’s not necessary though, so if you’re not into it, just leave it out.

The recipe called for white beans, and had I planned on making a trip to the grocery store, I probably would have used white beans, Great Northern, cannelini, or something like that. But since I had everything else and didn’t want to go out, I just substituted garbanzo beans (chickpeas). You can use whatever variety of beans you prefer.

I had a big bowl of it for dinner, and there’s probably enough left for 2 or 3 more bowls.

Buon appetito!

Buon appetito!

Kale & White Bean Soup from Community Nutrition Partnership

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can white beans
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon flax seed (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add garlic and onion; saute until fragrant. Add kale and stir frequently until wilted.

Add about half the broth and half the beans. Also add all of the tomatoes, seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile,  use a blender, food processor, or fork to mix the remaining broth and beans until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says

So-Called Pizza Puffs

21 Jan

So-called? Yes, so-called. Because I’m not sure these puffs deserve the name of “pizza.” They certainly didn’t taste like pizza. They tasted kind of like little bread muffins. Which I guess is what they are.

Look at that puff!

On principle, I don’t believe in taking a healthy recipe and making it healthy. I don’t think that ever turns out well. I’d rather just eat a small amount of the unhealthy thing every now and then. I don’t need to stuff myself full of bland fat-free mac-and-cheese or one-point Weight Watchers “desserts.” And don’t EVEN get me started on frozen yogurt, because I can’t tell you how angry I am that I can’t find a dang ice cream store anymore while there’s bland frozen yogurt bars on every street corner. All those exciting neon colors are false advertising, in my opinion.

I guess my issue is that I’m terrible at denying myself anything, but I’m pretty fantastic at portion control, IMHO. I guess most people have the opposite problem. But since I don’t, I’m going to continue buying the Double Stuf Oreos, but only eat 2 (okay, 3) after dinner tonight. I’ve never been the person who accidentally eats the whole bag.

The point here is that this recipe is way too healthy to be called Pizza Puffs. Puffs, sure, no problem. But pizza? You can barely taste the cheese, it’s whole wheat, AND there’s vegetables in it. That’s 3 things that would never be true about any pizza I’d eat.

So why I am sharing it? Well for one, I’m not arrogant enough to believe that everyone thinks the same way I do, and I imagine many people might appreciate this recipe. But also, I think my poor reaction to this recipe was one of expectations. I was expecting pizza, and upon not tasting pizza, I was mightily disappointed. But if they were called Whole Wheat Puffs with Marinara Dipping Sauce, then I think I’d be pretty happy.

So go ahead and make this recipe. They’re great for a snack or for serving at a party. They’re also great on the side of an Italian meal. Maybe I’ll make them again. Or maybe I’ll make real Pizza Puffs.

"Pizza" Puffs

Whole Wheat Pizza Puffs adapted from Cooking With My Kid

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup lowfat or skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded mozarella cheese
1 cup broccoli
1/2 marinara sauce, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.

Blanch the broccoli: Boil for about 2 minutes and then remove and immediately place in a bowl of ice water for 20-30 seconds. Remove from water. Chop finely. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in the milk and beaten egg. Stir in the mozzarella and broccoli. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild

Eggplant “Meat”balls

10 Dec

I love eggplant, and I love meatballs, so this whole thing seemed like a great idea. And it was! My friend Emily suggested it after profiling it on her blog.

I generally have found cooking with eggplant to be somewhat difficult, so I was skeptical at first. And though this was a bit more work than I generally like to commit to dinner, it was worth it. Plus, the eggplant meatballs freeze really well, so this is an excellent recipe to make over the weekend and save for a busy weeknight.

Roasting some eggplant

We had our eggplant balls over spaghetti with jar sauce. (Honestly, after the hassle of scratch-made eggplant balls, I wasn’t in the mood to make my own tomato sauce.) For snack or for lunch, these are great on their own, maybe with some marinara dipping sauce and some garlic bread. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine it would also make a fantastic sub sandwich. Hmm… I might have to try that soon.

Eggplant "Meat"balls

Don’t wait! Go pick yourself up an eggplant and get crackin’ on this recipe.

Eggplant “Meat”balls (Polpette di Melanzane) adapted from Dinner Du Jour

2 large eggplants, cut in half
extra virgin olive oil
salt
black pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped basil
a pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rub the halved eggplants with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. (If you want a slightly fancier way to roast your eggplant, try this recipe.)

Scoop out the flesh of the eggplants, place in a sieve, and press gently to squeeze out the excess liquid. In a mixing bowl, mash the garlic and eggplant together, then stir in the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shape the eggplant mixture into golf ball-sized ‘meatballs’. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
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Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Southwestern Vegetarian Chili & Double Cornbread

26 Nov

I made the most delicious chili last night. It was all the best things a meal should be: easy, delicious, healthy, and filling. This is one of those amazing chop-it-all-up-and-dump-it-in-the-crock-pot sort of of recipes. With the beans, corns, and whatnot, it has a slight Southwest or Mexican flavor, but mostly it tastes like delicious, hearty chili. I made some cornbread to go along with it. Perfect for a chilly night. Ha, chili night. Get it? Yeah…

Soup's on!

Funny thing is, I used to hate chili. Now I love it. Almost any sort of chili, I will wolf down, especially if it’s topped with shredded cheddar cheese and I have some tortilla chips to scoop it up.

One thing that’s great about this recipe is that it’s meatless, but it’s so hearty and filling that no one will notice. So if you’re trying to join in on Meatless Mondays, reduce your meat consumption, or just want a healthier balanced diet, this is a great option. The BF, who originally wanted to add ground beef, loved it. I did have to promise to make him another batch of “normal” chili later though.

Mmm... chili

Southwestern Vegetarian Chili, adapted from Eating Well

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice (the juice of 1 lime)
1 cup vegetable stock

Optional:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon water

Chop everything up, mix it together in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Check the consistency of your chili about an hour before eating. If you want it to be a little thicker, thicken it with flour. In a small bowl, mix the flour and water until it forms a slurry. Stir into the chili. Repeat with 1 part flour and 1 part water until it reaches desired consistency.

Double Cornbread

 

Double Corn Bread from Better Homes & Gardens

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place a tablespoon of butter in an 8×8 square baking dish and place in the oven until the butter melts. Remove dish and swirl butter until it coats the bottom and sides. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, and oil in a small bowl. Once mixed, add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir until just moistened. Fold in corn. Do not over-stir.

Pour batter into hot baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve warm.

 

Dinner time

 

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild