Sunday, December 7, 2014

Creamy Sausage and Arugula Pasta

A few weeks ago Alouette cheese was on sale at the grocery store plus I had a coupon, so I bought some.  After looking at the expiration date this week, I realized that I had to use it up... but how?  I decided to make it into a sauce and put it over pasta.  I was a little nervous as my made-up recipes have about 50/50 a success rate.  However, this one turned out to be a success!  It was a little rich, though I believe that if you use chicken broth instead of milk in the sauce it would cut the richness, or you could use chicken sausage instead of pork sausage.  Yum!

Creamy Sausage and Arugula Pasta


Creamy Sausage and Arugula Pasta

Ingredients:
1/2 pound medium shape pasta (I used veggie rotini)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 lb. ground bulk sausage
1 6 oz. bag arugula
1 6.5 oz. container roasted red pepper spreadable cheese (I used Alouette)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup saved pasta water
Salt
Pepper

Preparation:
Cook pasta according to directions on package.
Add oil to large skillet.
Add onion.  Cook until slightly translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up as you go.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add container of cheese and 1/4 cup of milk.  Whisk together until smooth.  Add the rest of the milk and the salt and pepper (to taste).  Whisk again. Add sausage to cheese sauce.
When pasta is done, add pasta water to sauce.  (If sauce is still thick, add more milk until it's the consistency you would like.)
Add arugula to pasta pot.  Add drained pasta and sausage cheese sauce.  Mix well.
Enjoy!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas

I'm back at it with enchiladas.  You know they're my favorite by now, and they're the best because they're so easy!  This vegetarian version is delicious and filling!  You know I'm a little weary of not being full after vegetarian meals, but these were great!
These were also a little spicier than I had intended, the pepper jack I used was spicier than the normal kind I use- whoops!

Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas 


Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can of corn, drained
1 (9 oz.) box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained
1 (8 oz.) brick of pepper jack cheese
12 corn tortillas (I used taco size)
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 (10 oz.) can of enchilada sauce
1 jalapeno, diced and seeded (optional)
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, divided
5 scallions, white and green parts divided

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place corn, spinach, black beans, 1 cup of cheese, taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp. cilantro, jalapeno, and the white parts of the scallions. Mix until combined.
Take a 9x13 pan and spray the bottom with cooking spray.
Fill each tortilla with a heaping amount of filling (they should just close) and place seam-side down into the pan.  Repeat until pan is full.
Top with enchilada sauce, spreading so that all of the tortillas have some sauce on them.
Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Top with remaining scallions and cilantro.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Perry's Plate

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup

This soup was delicious!  It's perfect for fall and had just the right amount of spice!  I was a bit surprised that it was so filling being vegan, but I got a thumbs up from Matthew, which is the true test of how good vegetarian/vegan meals are.  The best part is that the spiciness can be modified for people who are a little more sensitive.  I served this with homemade bread for a great fall meal.

Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup


Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium butternut squash, cubed (you of course may cheat and buy pre-cubed butternut squash which will greatly cut down on the labor of the soup)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste (you can go more or less depending on your spice level, but this is very spicy)
1 (15 oz.) can coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro, for garnish

Preparation:
Place a large pot over medium-low heat.
Add vegetable oil.
Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add curry and ginger.  Stir until well-incorporated.
Raise the temperature to medium. Add vegetable stock and squash.  Cover and cook until squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
Take the pot off of heat.
Either use an immersion blender or carefully put into a blender and blend until a puree.
Add coconut milk, lime, salt, and pepper (to taste). Stir. Heat for another 5-10 minutes, until soup is hot.
Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Ready for super easy chicken tacos that everyone will eat?  Ready for (almost) the entire meal to be prepared in the crockpot so you have the tiniest bit of clean up?  Do I have the dish for you!  These tacos scored big amongst the picky eaters in my house and it was super easy.

Double Chicken Tacos

Look at that succulent chicken


Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 green pepper, julienned
1 medium onion, julienned
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
8 taco shells (hard or soft)
1/2 cup cheese, shredded
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Salsa, sour cream, optional

Preparation:
Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Place chicken in bottom of crock pot. Layer peppers and onions on top.  Sprinkle spice mixture on top.  Cook on low 8 hours.
When ready to serve, shred chicken in crockpot and mix together with peppers and onions.  Assemble tacos with chicken mixture, and top with cheese, tomato, cilantro, salsa, and sour cream.
Enjoy!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas

We have been on a super quesadilla kick lately in our house, perhaps because of the excess of tortillas we have in our fridge.  However, I didn't want to put in regular old toppings, so when my sister brought home strawberries from work this week, I figured these would be perfect!  My Mom's friend also had given us basil and a banana pepper from her garden, so we threw those in too.  They were delicious!
Also, sorry for the poor picture quality, I had to take it on my phone.

Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas


Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 pint strawberries, diced
1/2 small red onion, sauteed and diced
1 banana pepper, diced (optional)
2 Tbsp basil, julienned
1 Tbsp parsley, julienned
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 brick mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 Flour tortilla shells

Preparation:

Pre-heat skillet over medium heat.  Place one tortilla shell on skillet.  Layer cheese, strawberries, chicken, basil, onion, parsley, and top with more cheese on one half of the tortilla.  Drizzle balsamic over, a small amount goes a long way!  Fold over the empty half of the tortilla onto the full half.  Flip to brown both sides.  Repeat until you're done with tortillas!  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Your Home Based Mom

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

So, you guys know how much Matt and Alyssa like vegetarian things, especially if they're not covered in cheese.  But here I was, being so sneaky, I made homemade veggie burgers that were VEGAN.  No jokes.  Now, they weren't a huge hit, but they were eaten.  So, I will take a victory where I can get it.  I will say, that I thought they were pretty good, though a little mushy.  Probably because I didn't wait long enough for them to crisp in the oil, but I was hungry!  Oh well, they were tasty!
Also, I made mine vegetarian by putting some tzatziki on top, but Alyssa and Matt had onion, avocado, and mustard for my vegan friends.  

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger


Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato, cooked and skinned
1 can black beans, drained
1 Tbsp. tahini
1/8 cup flour
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Panko bread crumbs (I'm not sure how much I used, I filled up a plate and used most)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Toppings: avocado, onion, tzatziki, whatever you want

Preparation:
Mash potato and beans together in a large mixing bowl. 
Add tahini, lemon pepper, cayenne, and flour.  If mixture is loose, add more flour until a consistency you can form into a patty.  Place patty into bread crumbs to coat. 
Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat.  
Place patties into pan and cook until golden brown on first side.  Flip until golden brown on the other side.  
Serve topped with avocado and onions on a roll.  
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Healthy.Happy.Life.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Green Bean Fries

Today I decided to make Greek burgers with chicken to be a little healthier, and then to kick that healthy life up a notch, I made green bean fries instead of regular fries.  I did however neglect to look the weather up and it was a trillion degrees in our house before I turned the oven to 425.  Yikes.  We were sweating while eating, but they were really good.  Good enough to turn your house into an oven?  Probably not.  Good enough to make again, on a day where the humidity isn't 50 percent?  Definitely.
So, I also used panko bread crumbs instead of regular to make them extra crispy, but the panko wouldn't really stick, so in the future use regular old bread crumbs to yummy fries!
I dipped mine into Tzatziki because I made Greek burgers, which was great!

Green Bean Fries
Just as a note- I had a little over a pound of green beans, so the uncoated beans in my picture I actually just sauteed.  You can totally ignore those.

Green Bean Fries

Ingredients:
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt (if you're using pre-packaged rach mix, skip the salt)
1/2 tsp. pepper
cooking spray
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmer

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 425.
Combine breadcrumbs, ranch mix, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. After combined, put onto a plate for easier coating.
Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray.
Dip the green beans in the egg, letting excess (eggcess, haha) drip back into the bowl.
Dip into breadcrumb mixture to coat.
Place green beans on cookie sheet in a single layer.
Spray green beans lightly with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes.  Flip and bake another 2 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Dizzy, Busy & Hungry!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Coffee Brownies

Usually I am not one for making desserts, hello, my sister is in pastry school!  However, I was cooking dinner for our friends, and decided to bake some brownies to complete the meal.  Now, normally I would make box brownies, (I know!) but I was feeling extra bakey, so I decided to whip up a batch of these babies.
I liked them, though the coffee I used wasn't ground as fine as it probably should have been, so they were a little grainy.  They were however, moist, chewy, and rich.  Plus, the extra kick from the coffee was a great surprise!


Coffee Brownies


Coffee Brownies

Ingredients:

Nonstick Cooking Spray
2 cups sugar
15 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. finely ground coffee (I used Kona)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray 13x9 pan with nonstick spray.  Combine sugar, butter, cocoa, coffee, and salt in a large metal bowl.  Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water- creating a double boiler- and whisk until blended (it will be grainy).
Remove bowl from heat.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla.  Fold in flour.
Spread batter in pan.
Bake 24-25 minutes, or until tester inserted into middle of brownies comes out clean.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious






Monday, February 24, 2014

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

Today I splurged and cooked salmon, it was very fancy... though when I told the kids at school, they told me in fact, that I was not fancy because they had salmon all the time; such is the problem with working at a private school.  Alas, my fancy meal was delicious!   I bought salmon filets without skin, which is probably the best way for this recipe.  If you do have skin-on filets, either take it off or you should quickly crisp up the skin in a frying pan before putting it in the oven.  (No one wants flabby skin.)
I took a few liberties with this recipe, as I don't have fresh herbs, but it turned out great!  The original recipe also called for thyme instead of rosemary, but I thought with the tomatoes, I would go a little more Italian than the recipe said, but I suppose that's why this is my recipe instead of the original!

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes 

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes 

Ingredients:

1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 (6 oz.) salmon filets, no skin

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking dish with foil.
Toss tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. rosemary, olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper on baking pan.  Roast 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Push tomatoes to one side.  Add salmon.  Sprinkle with remaining salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Roast 10 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.
To serve, spoon tomatoes over salmon.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Woman's Day Everyday Cookbook

Monday, February 17, 2014

Black Bean Lasagna

Whilst looking for my vegetarian recipe of the week, I found this recipe and it piqued my interest.  I usually try to find variations of classic dishes, though I tout myself as a lasagna purest.  Lasagna is my favorite food, and I try not to mess with it.  This recipe seemed interesting, and anything with Mexican flavors is an automatic sure thing for me.
Shut up.  This was delicious.  I had seconds (which is rare), Matt had thirds.  I would perhaps add more peppers and some corn if you wanted to bulk up the vegetables, but it was great, as is!

Black Bean Lasagna 
Black Bean Lasagna

Ingredients:

12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta
1 (8 oz.)packed cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
Garnish: chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sour cream (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.
Mash one can of beans; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add mashed beans, unmashed beans, tomato sauce, cilantro, and cumin.  Heat through.
In a large bowl combine ricotta, cream cheese, and sour cream; set aside.  Spray a lasagna pan with cooking spray.  Arrange 4 noodles, slightly overlapping them, in the dish.  Top with one-third of the bean mixture, making sure to completely cover the noodles.  Spread half the cheese mixture on top of bean mixture.  Repeat layers two more times, ending with the bean mixture.
Bake, covered, for 40-45 minutes, or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes.  Garnish with tomatoes, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Recipe.com