Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Giada’s Pasta Primavera

12 Oct

The first time I had this was when the lovely Weesie made it for me – it was SO good that I just had to make it myself.  I’ve made it a couple times and every time, I love it.  It’s healthy and filling and delicious – what more could you ask for.  It’s perfect when you want something with a lot of vegetables.  Here it is:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I’m not a huge red bell pepper fan, so I used orange instead and it’s a great substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a little extra, of course)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (as always, a little extra cheese)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets.

Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Pasta with Eggplant and Pesto

13 Aug
This is the story of three foods that moved in together and created the most delicious relationship.
 
Friends: meet Pesto, Pasta, & Eggplant.
 
For the Pesto:
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic (I don’t believe you can ever use too much garlic; I put in two)
1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2/3 c EVOO, eyeball it
1/2 c grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping
 
Mix all in a food processor (or blender).  If you don’t have either, borrow one from a neighbor.  Store-bought pesto is “ehhh”; homemade pesto is da bomb.
 
 
For the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted (a palm full) water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (I used what I had although I prefer penne–you can use whatev, though) and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss until coated.
For the Eggplant:
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Add the pesto and toss until the eggplant is coated.

 

Add the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl with the pasta and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water (if needed). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with extra parmesan…Weesie, are you down wit dat?
 
 
Holly’s Notes:
I prefer an all basil pesto, but when I got to my fridge, I realized I only had about 3/4 c of basil leaves. I threw in 1/2 c of baby spinach, and it still tasted great (arugula also works as a substitute).
To toast the pine nuts, arrange them in a single layer in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. They’re done when golden-brown…and you can smell’em. Caution: these suckers burn easily, so watch’em.
Eggplants are a really “thirsty” vegetable, so I often have to add extra EVOO to the skillet as they’re cooking. 
***If you’re like my husband and dinner isn’t complete without meat, I just heated up some leftover chicken I had in the fridge and served it right on top.
  
  
*Recipe courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis

Falafel

12 Aug

I apologize for posting 2 recipes in a row…but I couldn’t resist. This might be my favorite thing that I’ve made ever, and Matt’s too. It’s really quick to throw together and I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry. You should seriously make these, I promise you’ll enjoy.

Traditionally falafel is deep-fried, but this recipe cooks them up in a pan on the stove. And they are so delicious. Really, I don’t think you can go wrong with all the wonderful flavors, unless you happen to burn a few (which I did). This recipe comes from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen. It’s a really great cookbook – and all vegetarian!

Falafel
yields: about 24 balls

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (OK to use canned; two 15-oz. cans will provide the right amount)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion or 6 scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup (packed)  minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Oil for frying

Rinse the chickpeas, and drain them well.

Combine all ingredients except flour in a food processor or a medium-sized bowl and process — or mash — until you have a uniform batter.

Add flour, and stir until thoroughly combined. You can cook the falafel right away, or store the batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.

Heat a heavy skillet and add about 3 Tbsp. oil. When it is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb on contact, drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan, flattening each slightly, like a small thick pancake. Sauté for about 10 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp. Add small amounts of extra oil to the pan as needed throughout the cooking.

Place the cooked falafel on a plate lined with paper towels and, if necessary, keep warm in a 300-degree oven until serving time.

This recipe is super simple and not too time consuming. Basically you just put everything in a bowl and mash it all together to form a batter. If you have the luxury of owning a food processor, it’s probably even easier. I just use a potato masher and it gets the job done.  I used canned chickpeas and scallions for my onions (they’re my favorite) and I used about 1/8 cup-ish dried parsley because I didn’t have fresh. I’m not sure if I had the heat up too high, but cooking the falafel for 10 minutes on one side doesn’t seem rightv- they burn. I’d say 3-5 minutes is more accurate. These cook quickly. The cook time is probably more of a personal preference. I like them more mushy than crispy, Matt liked the crispier ones.

I came out with 18 falafel balls, with two rounds in the pan. The overall cook time was probably about 15-20 minutes. We warmed up some pita bread and filled them with falafel, tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers and topped it with a few dollops of  tzatziki sauce.

(Note burnt falafel…but Matt still ate it.)

It was a delicious and healthy dinner. We even had a few falafel balls left over that Matt ate for lunch the next day. I really want to have people over and cook this for them! This is one of the few things I’ve made that I’m confident is delicious. (I’m very critical of my cooking). Enjoy!

Spinach Quiche

12 Aug

I’m enjoying reading everyone’s posts so far! I have a cooking blog and wanted to pull some of my favorites to share with everyone. This is a Spinach Quiche I made awhile back that turned out really good and was super easy. I’m sure it’d be equally delicious, or more so, with a pie crust.

Monday night for dinner, I decided I really wanted to make a quiche. I searched for an easy recipe that used few ingredients, I had a lot of eggs but not much else. I came across a recipe on allrecipes.com that was easily adaptable and met my standards.

Crustless Spinach Quiche
yields: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.

I didn’t have Muenster cheese (who does?) so I used what I had –  a little bit of Mozzarella (got 1 cup out of it) and a block of Colby cheese (got the other 2 cups from). The only other modification I made was adding diced tomatoes on top – I had a few lying around that were getting mushy. I did end up leaving it in the oven for longer than 30 minutes, it was closer to 45. It says to bake until “eggs have set”. I don’t really know what that means and it kind of scared me, so I assumed leaving it in a little longer wasn’t a bad thing. We ate more than half that night. Matt really loved it, I think he had 3 slices. I would have preferred less onions, the onion flavor seemed to dominate. A huge plus, it was delicious served cold the next day for breakfast. And this recipe is super adaptable, you can use almost any veggies, any cheese and add herbs or spices as you like. It’s a great base and one that I’ll most definitely be using again and again (I may add a crust next time). It’d be a perfect dish for brunch too!

Here’s the final product:

Jacked-Up Banana Bread With Pecans

25 Jul

I froze some overripe bananas a bit ago and have been planning to make banana bread for a while ago.  Today I finally decided to do it and spent some time looking up recipes.  I finally decided to go for a recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. However, after I decided to make it, I realized that the recipe calls for bourbon and sadly, liquor stores in Texas are closed on Sunday.  I did some quick research and found that 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla can be substituted for 1 tablespoon of bourbon and went with that (though I’m sure bourbon would have been awesome in this and I can’t wait to make it again and try it the original way).  I also decided to add 1/2 cup of pecans to the original recipe as I am a firm believer that any banana bread is better with nuts (I just added them last).  Below is the original recipe…hope you enjoy!

Elise’s Friend Heidi’s Friend Mrs. Hockmeyer’s Banana Bread, As Jacked Up by Deb
Adapted from Simply Recipes

No need for a mixer for this recipe — need I say more?

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (depending on the level of sweetness you prefer, I always use the smaller amount)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Roasted Pear-Butternut Squash Soup with Crumbled Gorgonzola

15 Jul

This soup is absolutely delicious soup.  It’s one of my favorite things to make in the fall and winter, but it’s so delicious that I can’t resist making it even when it’s ridiculously hot outside.  I got the recipe from one of the many, many cooking blogs/websites I follow on my google reader.  This one is called Eating Well.  The recipe on Eating Well calls for Stilton cheese, but the first time I made it, I couldn’t find that I opted to substitute in Gorgonzola.  It was perfect with this soup, so I’ve continued to make it that way.  The soup is even good without the cheese, but that’s really what sends it over the top.  Though it takes a bit of time (don’t decide to make this when you are starving), it’s pretty easy.  Here’s the recipe:

What you need:

  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 large leek, pale green and white parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and washed thoroughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Stilton, or other blue-veined cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, or scallion greens

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Place half the vegetables and 2 cups broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the remaining vegetables and 2 cups broth. Add to the pan and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  4. Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring, until hot, about 10 minutes. Divide among 6 bowls and garnish with cheese and chives (or scallion greens).

Most things I cook are relatively healthy and this is no exception.  According to Eating Well, it makes six servings, but sometimes mine doesn’t quite last that long.  If you can indeed make it into six servings, then the nutrition information is: 235 calories; 10 g fat (5 g sat, 5 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 6 g fiber; 721 mg sodium; 700 mg potassium.  Not bad at all.