Category Archives: Vegetarian
I thought as the farm stand season winds down it would be fun to focus on recipes that take advantage of super fresh produce before it all disappears.
I was going to make an Eggplant Parmesan for the featured recipe but never got around to it, so I went with the Chili Rellenos Casserole instead.
To get started, a fresh and tangy Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad, recipe here.
These Marinated Mushrooms (recipe here) sounded good and could be used as an appetizer or sliced into a salad.
Pizza is great way to get have a fun and flavorful vegetarian dinner. JeffreyW always does pizzas right and his Margherita Pizza (picture above) is no exception. Click here for his recipe and lots of photos.
This week’s dinner menu sticks with the veggie theme: Pasta with Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta. Menu, recipes and shopping list are here.
And finally, for the pet lovers, Bixby checked in this week, spoiler alert there was a bath and a stuffed monkey.
What’s cooking in your kitchen this weekend? Have any cool weather recipes to share?
Tonight’s featured recipe, quick, easy and oh, so good:
Chili Rellenos Casserole
- 2-7 oz cans whole green chilies
- ½ onion, diced
- 16 oz shredded 4-blend Mexican cheese
- 4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into wide strips
- 4 eggs
- 4 oz salsa
- ¼ cup milk
- salt & pepper
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro ( Italian parsley or fresh basil if you hate cilantro)
bowl, 8×8 glass baking dish, greased
Drain and seed peppers. Layer 1/3 of the peppers in the bottom of baking dish, top with 1/3 onions, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 tortilla strips. Repeat to make three layers. Beat together eggs, salsa, milk, spices and cilantro. Pour evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35-40 minutes until fluffy and center is set.
That’s it for this week. Have a fun and safe weekend. – TaMara
These mushrooms can serve as an appetizer or side dish.
- 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, washed, dried and stems removed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- fresh oregano, chopped
- salt and pepper
bowl, large jar with lid
In a bowl, add lemon juice and white wine vinegar, slowly whisk olive oil into it. Stir in fresh oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
Place mushroom in the jar, pour marinade over them, cover with the lid and shake gently to coat mushrooms completely.
Refrigerate overnight, gently shaking occasionally. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Today sucked. I mean really and truly sucked.
But in other news, there’s water on Mars and the Blood Moon did not bring on the apocalypse and in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.
I have a bunch of nice vegetarian sides and main dishes piled up in my to post file, so I thought this week would be a good time to focus on a few. Farm stands are still going strong, the weather can’t decide if it’s grilling or soup weather, this seemed like a safe bet.
Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together all the ingredients, except oil, slowly whisk in oil to create vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
- 1/2 head Savoy cabbage
- 1 Asian pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
- 1 Red Anjour pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut or almond pieces
Cut each cabbage in half to create two wedges, remove core and slice crosswise into thin shreds, toss with pears, grapes and nuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss thoroughly. Let set for 10 minutes and serve.
With July heat in full swing and the dog days of August coming up, I thought cold recipes would be a good idea for tonight’s recipe exchange. It made working in the kitchen much more appealing this week and I managed to try out a couple of new recipes and do some actual blog posting.
To get things started, Monday was house hunting and one of my new summer favorites, Jicama Slaw, surprisingly sweet and creamy, click here.
Tuesday was notes on the kittehs and Key Lime Bars, which I made to satisfy an intense craving for a cold, tart, citrus dessert, read here.
Wednesday I played with making my first Granita, I chose watermelon, but there are many other flavor combinations for this easy, cold treat. Recipe here.
The dinner menu this week was Grilled Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette. Complete menu, recipes and shopping list are here.
For the pet lovers, there’s a Bixby Diary update.
Well, that was my week, how was yours? When it’s too hot to cook, what’s your go-to for dinner?
For tonight’s featured recipe, I was looking for a fresh salad idea and a friend was travelling through Italy and posted photos of an unusual salad, complete with recipe (in Italian) on Facebook. It looked good, so I decided to try it. Here’s my version.
I chose to use mint because it’s what I had handy, but I’ve seen it with basil or oregano and white wine vinegar instead of limejuice. For a spicier version, try limejuice and Pico de Gallo.
- 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (if using unwaxed, no need to peel)
- 2 tbsp limejuice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- Pecorino Romano, feta or other similar cheese, cut into small chunks or crumbled
Add watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl, drizzle with limejuice and oil, add mint leaves, then toss to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with cheese just before serving cold.
That’s it for this week, have a great weekend and try and stay cool – TaMara
I just put jicama on the grocery list and I plan on making Jicama Slaw (recipe here), perfect for late summer heat. And it makes 6 to 10 servings, so I’ll have it on hand for the week. I can’t complain too much about the heat, because as far as Colorado summers go, this one has been pleasantly mild. Late afternoon showers keep things from heating up too much.
I wanted to talk a bit about house hunting. I know it must seem like I’ve been shopping forever (trust me, it feels that way to me, too). Timing is everything. I started my own business four years ago and two years ago it became my full-time gig. Once that happened, I clearly needed more room as I worked at my home “office” 3 to 4 days a week. I ventured out into the market right at the time things heated up to bubble status. Houses are selling at a ridiculous amount over list.
Luckily, I have great clients, two who are actually custom home builders and one who is a financial whiz. They’ve been very helpful and confirmed my own intuition. I’m taking their advice, waiting out the bubble and trying to find my patience, both for myself and the critters. We all need more room to stretch out and we will find it.
But in the meantime…ugh my kitchen. It’s just unworkable, especially for blogging and photos. No light, cramped space, crappy stove. I’ve been living on salads and diet Coke all summer. I do have a backlog of recipes that I will just have to start posting, sans photos.
And when we do move, then not only can we celebrate, but there should be some fun as I document the inevitable upgrades.
It’s been a busy week of cooking, surprisingly. When stressed, I retreat to the kitchen and even in its unwelcoming state, there was solace there this week. Bixby turned one on Tuesday, I baked up some more dog biscuits for him and his best play-buddies. You can see his birthday photos here.
Then I was at the store and found chicken leg quarters on sale and sitting right next to them, my favorite bottle of wing sauce, so I made some Buffalo Leg Quarters, pictured above and recipe here. They were really good and much easier than making wings.
JeffreyW was busy in the kitchen, too and his Shrimp Mornay with Broccoli from earlier in the week looked delicious. Photos and recipe here.
What’s been cooking in your kitchen this week? Is it time to give up on indoor cooking and move it all out to the backyard? What’s up for Father’s day? I had tonight’s featured recipe tucked away for the day I could find decent tomatoes. That day was today. And if you want other cucumber salad ideas, click here for a bunch of them.
Crisp Cucumber Salsa
- 1 large chopped cucumber – I used an English cucumber so I didn’t have to peel or seed it.
- 2 small chopped tomatoes
- 3 green onions, chopped, greens included
- 2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1 jalepeno pepper, chopped (seeded if you want to lower the heat)
- 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- dash of cayenne pepper (opt)
- 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
- Tortilla chips
- Small tortillas, cut into eighths
small bowl, serving bowl
In a serving bowl, combine the top seven ingredients. In small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.
Let the flavors blend for about thirty minutes. Serve at room temperature or ice cold with chips and tortillas.
That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day. – TaMara
This week I’m having fun with unusual recipes in unusual gadgets. Here’s one from December 2012:
This is a great take on spinach lasagna, using a slow-cooker. This entire dish completely surprised me. I was at work, one day, in our morning meeting – which was actually an excuse for the guys to wow me with their cooking ideas – when Vern told me about the slow-cooker lasagna he’d made the night before. I was skeptical. Lasagna in a slow-cooker sounded like it would have the consistency of canned ravioli. But he insisted it was really good. So I set out to see for myself. I have to say, he wasn’t wrong. It had a great flavor, the texture was very similar to having cooked it in an oven and the top was nicely browned and the cheese perfectly gooey. The only caveat is that it cooks in about 4 hours, so you can’t put it together in the morning and have it ready when you get home at the end of the work day. It would be burned to a crisp, even on low.
So, here is tonight’s featured recipe, my version of slow-cooker lasagna:
Slow-Cooker Spinach Lasagna
- 1 lb lean ground beef (opt, you can skip to keep this vegetarian)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 carrot shredded (this cuts the acidity of the sauce, adds a touch of sweetness)
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 28 oz canned tomato sauce
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 2 tsp of dried basil, crushed
- 12 ounces ricotta cheese (you can sub in cottage cheese if desired)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and rough chopped
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked (I used brown rice pasta to keep it gluten free)
Sauce: Brown ground beef, along with onion, garlic, carrots and green pepper in a saucepan (if you are omitting the beef, sauté vegetables in a tbsp of olive oil). Add tomato sauce, paste and spices. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer on low while preparing remaining ingredients.
Mix together ricotta cheese and egg, until well combined. Fold in spinach.
In the slow-cooker, spoon a layer of sauce onto the bottom, add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with a portion of the ricotta mixture and then a portion of the mozzarella. Add sauce, then a single layer of noodles, ricotta and mozzarella and repeat layers until ingredients are all used up. (Because slow-cookers vary in size, I unfortunately can’t give you precise layering, as I can with the traditional lasagna. You’ll have to eye it. The good news is, it will all cook together and be just fine regardless).
Finish with sauce, mozzarella and then shredded Parmesan.
Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
Things are not slowing down here. I put a bid in on a cute little Victorian house, only to face 15 other bids this past week. I did not realize house hunting was going to turn into a full-time job that feels like an episode of the Bachelor, where I go home without the rose each week. Between that and raising a rambunctious 10-month old Great Dane, the weeks are slipping by. Speaking of the Beast, I had to clean out the freezer to make room for his frozen apples halves (apples were on sale, so I stocked up) and his giant beef bones (again, on sale, so I stocked up and boiled a good two week supply). Deep in the freezer, behind the pumpkin, cranberries and leftovers, was a pint of ricotta.
Decided I needed to use it up, so I dug into the archives looking for my vegetarian meatball recipe. That became tonight’s featured recipe, and I pulled up the previous recipe exchange where it was featured and said, “hey, that looks good.” In other words, tonight is a repeat. Next week, though, I’m planning on sharing some fun recipes I’ve been playing with this week.
To start tonight, how about homemade ricotta? JeffreyW has made it and if you click here and he’ll take you step by step through the process.
He then puts his homemade ricotta to good use with Stuffed Shells, as pretty to look at as they are delicious. (recipe and photos here)
I have a great alternative to regular gnocchi, a lighter, easier version using ricotta cheese and a fire roasted sauce to make a simple, quick Baked Gnocchi. (recipe here).
A quick Skillet Lasagna (recipe here) is great for weeknights and a breeze to make.
And a yummy dessert from JeffreyW, a beautiful Cannoli recipe, pictured above and found here.
Finally, for the pet lovers, a Bixby update from the pup himself. If you click here, be prepared, he’s a Beast, standing at his full height on his hind legs.
What’s on your menu for the weekend? Anyone else house hunting? Have you started your gardens in earnest yet?
Now on to the featured recipe. These are very simple to make and are delicious. It’s a great vegetarian alternative for your pasta dishes. They’re light and once you get the technique down, you can play with the flavors and customize them to your palate.
Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. My second round of these, I added a bit of red pepper flake.
Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
- 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
- Olive oil
Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.
Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.
Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.
Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.
You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.
To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.
To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara