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Veggie Stirfry

18 Jan

Veggie Stir Fry 2
This is almost always the meal I make when Joel is working late or has something going on that takes him away at dinner time. I wait until Noah goes to bed then whip this up and eat my dinner in peace all by myself! As much as I love those boys of mine, sometimes it’s really nice to just have some time to myself and eat something Joel doesn’t like while enjoying silly, ridiculous shows that he makes fun of me for watching. My life is happy and uncomplicated so I sometimes like to get a little fix of stupid drama, so sue me.

Anyway, this is healthy and simple to throw together using ingredients I almost always have in the kitchen. You can add in anything you like, I just have listed what I had on hand that day. I also really like it with green beans and/or zucchini. I always look forward to whipping it up anytime I have a night to myself.
Veggie Stir Fry 1
Veggie Stirfry

6 oz. whole grain egg noodles
1-2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 tsp. grated ginger (use microplane)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 tsp. sugar
Sesame seeds
Additional add ins: green beans, zucchini, onion, carrots, mushrooms, peppers

1. Bring water to a boil then cook noodles according to package directions and add broccoli at the last 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha and sugar in a small bowl. Heat a wok over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick spray and crack egg into it. Scramble it quickly then let it cook until set. Flip and cook until no longer runny. Remove from pan and chop into tiny pieces.

3. Pour vegetable oil into wok then saute ginger, garlic and cabbage for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add in pasta, broccoli and sauce mixture and saute for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Dilled Egg Salad

26 Nov

Egg Salad
For me, egg salad is one of those things I have to be in the mood to eat and when I am it totally hits the spot. Egg salad doesn’t really require a recipe so this is just a start and you can add or subtract ingredients depending on your personal preferences. That being said, this is my absolute favorite recipe for egg salad because of the addition of the dill.

This is a great quick and easy sandwich you can throw together for the kiddos school lunch or for a last minute dinner. Plus, all the ingredients are staples so it can be thrown together anytime!

Dilled Egg Salad
recipe from Allrecipes.com

8 eggs
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I use the reduced-fat olive oil kind)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 red onion, minced (we don’t care for raw onion so I left this out)
salt and pepper to taste
Sliced wheat bread

1. Make the perfect hard boiled eggs.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, paprika, onion and salt and pepper. Mash well with a fork or wooden spoon.

3. Serve on bread as a sandwich or over crisp lettuce as a salad.

BBQ Lentils aka Snobby Joes

30 Mar

When I went on the hunt for vegetarian meals, my good friend Molly came to the rescue and sent me a yummy list of unique meal options. This was one of the first recipes I tried out. I don’t cook with lentils often and the recipe sounded quite unique so it caught my eye right away. We also love sloppy joes so I thought it might bring some reminiscent flavors that Joel would appreciate.
BBQ Lentils
Lentils are packed with protein, iron and fiber while sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest veggies you could eat making this meal a nutritious delight. I also served it with steamed broccoli and carrots. Needless to say, when Joel walked in the kitchen and saw this spread he was not too thrilled. But once again, the only statement I said was “this was your idea.” I think when he decided he wanted to give up meat he just wanted to replace it with more seafood and lots of cheesy pasta but I figured if we were going to do this we should do it right. I have also informed him that after Lent ends we will probably have a couple meatless meals a week. He wasn’t thrilled.

The sweet potatoes and brown sugar helped balance out the zing of the balsamic vinegar in my opinion but Joel thought it was way to vinegar-y (mind you he doesn’t love the flavor of vinegar like I do). So, this is definitely a recipe you will want to taste and adjust according to personal preferences.
BBQ Lentils
BBQ Lentils aka Snobby Joes
serves 2 to 4, active time 45 minutes, total time 15 minutes

1/2 cup (4 ounces) black lentils (I used green and they worked just fine)
2 cloves garlic; 1 whole, 1 minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, or more if needed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, or more if needed
Dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1. Combine the lentils, 4 cups of water, and the whole (peeled) clove of garlic in a saucepan or Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are soft but still hold their shape. Toward the end of cooking, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

2. Drain the lentils, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and discard the garlic clove.

3. Wash and dry the pot you used to simmer the lentils. Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion and minced garlic, and sauté until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the cayenne and the ginger. Then add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, if using, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer.

5. Add the lentils and the reserved cooking water to the pot. Simmer until the sauce coats the lentils and the mixture is no longer soupy. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more brown sugar or vinegar if necessary.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday, What I Whipped Up Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday and These Chicks Cooked.

Pizza Sauce

23 Mar

Pizza Sauce 1

After trying several pizza sauce recipes, I made this one and have never looked back.  Iron Mike’s sauce has a sweet background which is so unique and delicous.  The original recipe was a bit too sweet for our taste so I adapted it, using less honey and brown sugar.

I simmer this sauce for about an hour and sometimes more as we enjoy a thick, rich sauce.  This is great to top pizza or dip calzones in. And it is just so easy to prepare that it seems silly that I bought premade sauce for so long. Another plus to the recipe is that it makes a big amount so I freeze the remainder in batches in freezer bags (makes about 3 pizzas worth).  And it thaws quickly in the microwave or on the counter.
Pizza Sauce 2
Pizza Sauce
recipe adapted from Iron Mike’s Sweet Tomatoe Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried onions, minced or chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
fresh ground pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic for a minute.

2. Add the Tomato Puree; watch for splattering.

3. Add everything else and simmer uncovered on low, stirring frequently, for 30-60 minutes, until desired consistency has been reached.

Quinoa Black Bean Patties

11 Mar

Quinoa Black Bean Patties
Joel was not too thrilled with this meal to say the least. But my response to some of these vegetarian meals that he hasn’t loved has been “it’s your fault.” It was his idea to give up meat so I don’t have any sympathy for him, haha.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with the outcome of these patties. I didn’t have high hopes and worried that they would be bland and flavorless but they were quite good and very filling. It probably helps that I love anything with cumin in it and these packed a big flavor punch of that yummy, smoky spice. They were really great with baked sweet potato fries.

I love feeling full and satisfied after eating a healthy meal. And I wasn’t hungry 2 hours later like I usually am after a salad.
Quinoa Black Bean Patties

Quinoa Black Bean Patties
recipe from Can You Stay for Dinner?

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 carrot, diced
4 scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
15 ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Italian seasoned dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Rinse quinoa throughouly in a fine mesh strainer under running water to remove the saponin which causes a bitter taste.  In a small pot, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.

2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, scallions, garlic, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, salt, and pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.

3. Form mixture into four patties. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned, about 8 minutes per side.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, These Chicks Cooked, What I Whipped Up Wednesday and Cast Party Wednesday.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

26 Sep

Want a way to make healthy broccoli and cauliflower fattening and unbelievably tasty? Well, have I got the recipe for you! Smother it with cheese, sprinkle with crispy panko breadcrumbs and bake.  It’s the dressed up version of the typical broccoli and velveeta casserole that many of us thoroughly enjoy (my family included). This is so good and would be a great addition to any holiday meal.

This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. When I saw broccoli au gratin listed on the menu, I just couldn’t resist. I mean, it has two of my favorite foods, broccoli and cheese. How could you go wrong? Let me tell you, it was heavenly and I knew I had to recreate it at home.

Since starting my blog, I’ve been branching out and trying new things. Although cheesy veggies is not a new thing to me, creating my own recipe is something I don’t do often.

I used the cheese sauce from my macaroni and cheese then mixed it with broccoli and cauliflower and topped it with panko bread crumbs for a delicious crunch. It was amazing and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

See the creamy goodness, it’s irresistable.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

1 (16-oz.) bag frozen broccoli
1 (16-oz.) bag frozen cauliflower
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk (I use skim and it’s still satisfying and creamy)
16 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
2 oz. Velveeta (for added creaminess without a “processed” taste), optional

Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

1. Lightly steam the broccoli and cauliflower.

2. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour to make a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook away the flour taste.

3. Slowly add the milk to the roux. Cook for several minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.

4. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

5. Mix the broccoli, cauliflower and cheese sauce then place in a 13×9 pan. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Lemony Greek Potatoes

1 Sep

I never thought that I liked lemon on anything savory. Well, this little blog has given me the inspiration and courage to go outside my food comfort zone and I’m sure glad I did because it turns out I do like lemon on other dishes besides dessert.

These potatoes were just lemony enough without being overpowering. Combined with the olive oil, oregano and parsley they became the perfect compliment to the grilled pork souvlaki and tzatziki I made.

The original recipe called for double the vinaigrette, using 2/3 of it to drizzle on top but we like our potatoes super crispy so I decided to skip the drizzling after baking so I cut the vinaigrette recipe in half and only used 1/4 cup of chicken stock. The chicken stock helps keep them moist while the oil crisps them up. Oooh, and I got to use my fresh herbs which made these potatoes extra delectable.

Lemony Greek Potatoes
recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com

3/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 large shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 lbs. large russet potatoes, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, oregano and parsley in a medium bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss potatoes with the vinaigrette in a large, rimmed baking sheet. Pour chicken stock around potatoes and roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.

Recipe linked to Recipe Sharing Monday by Jam Hands, Mouthwatering Monday, Full Plate Thursday , This Chick Cooks and Fat Camp Fridays.

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Bechamel

6 Aug

I’ve had this meal planned for quite awhile now but have been putting it off thinking it would be complicated and time-consuming.  Surprisingly it was super simple and relatively quick.  I don’t know why I was dreading it.

I’ve only had store-bought gnocchi before and have never been a huge fan but I thought I would give it one last chance and I’m so glad I did.  This was fresh tasting and I could tell it was made from potatoes. 

The bechamel sauce was absolutely amazing and I will be using it in many more meals in the future.  I used skim milk and still ended up with a very thick, creamy sauce.  Gorgonzola alone is usually a little to strong and stinky for me so I was worried the bechamel wouldn’t go over well but when it was combined with the parmesan it turned out quite delicious and not overwhelming.

Gnocchi
recipe from Closet Cooking

1 pound russet potatoes, about 2 large ones
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 – 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.Prick the potatoes a few times with a fork.
2.Bake in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about an hour.
3.Scoop the inside out of the potatoes and mash them.
4.Mix in the egg and enough of the flour to form a soft dough that is not too sticky to work with.
5.Knead the dough for a minute and then roll it out into 4 long thin rolls about 1/2 inch thick.
6.Cut the rolls into 1/2 inch pieces and then roll the pieces in flour lightly shaking off any excess.
7.Roll the pieces over a gnocchi board or a fork to give them the ridges.
8.Cook the gnocchi in boiling water in small batches until it floats to the surface, about 2-3 minutes, remove and set aside to drain.
9.Use as desired.

Gorgonzola Bechamel Sauce
recipe from Closet Cooking

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until melted.
2. Add the flour and stir until smooth.
3. Slowly add the milk and stir until smooth.
4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and cook until melted.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday’s!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

13 Jun

This was my first attempt at sweet potato fries and I was hoping to convert my husband who has never been a fan.  Well, I didn’t convert him and these were good but not great.

I was not able to get these fries crispy which is super important in my opinion.  When I attempt these again I will try baking them at a higher temperature, maybe 450 degrees, for a shorter amount of time.  Or maybe broil them for the last couple minutes.  I think doubling the garlic and onion powder would also be beneficial. 

These are still a good and healthy side dish that I will be attempting again (and making my whiny husband something else).  Our son Noah loves sweet potatoes so at least I have someone on my side.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
dash of cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients together.
2. Bake sweet potato fries for 35 minutes, turning half way through the baking time.

Broccoli and Four Cheese Calzones

1 Jun

I’m pretty sure these are the best calzones I have ever made!  I love broccoli and am always looking for new ways to use it and I’m sure glad I stumbled across this recipe!  I would have never thought of adding broccoli to pizza or a calzone but it is sooo good.  If you don’t like broccoli or don’t feel like going vegetarian for a meal, replace it with pepperoni or sausage as I did for my husband.

I normally make pizza dough homemade but to simplify this for a weeknight meal, I used one loaf of Rhodes white bread which I set out (in a loaf pan) in the morning so it would thaw and rise.  This makes this meal pretty quick and easy to throw together.  It will yield 2 large or 4 small calzones.

I made a few adaptations due to our tastes and what I had on hand.  I had slices of provolone from the deli so I simply diced it into strips.  We did not have any parmesan cheese so I subbed a bit of Gorgonzola instead.  Fresh broccoli was used rather than frozen and the calzones were baked at a different temperature.  This in an incredibly adaptable recipe so use your imagination!

Broccoli and Four Cheese Calzones
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1 loaf Rhodes White Bread, risen
1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Dried basil

1. To make the filling, lightly steam the broccoli. In a large skillet saute the broccoli, garlic powder and onion powder with the olive oil. Stir in the grated provolone cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, grated mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese.
2. Roll the dough into circles.  Spread filling on one half of the circle leaving a border around it for closing. Close the calzone by folding the unfilled side on top of the filled side. Crimp the edges closed with your fingers or a fork. Place on a lightly greased baking pan.
3. Brush tops with olive oil then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and basil . Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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