Tag Archives: Dinner

D.C. Food & A Giveaway Winner!

I had grand plans of posting my Food Should Taste Good giveaway winner early last week, but a bout with a stomach bug kept me quarantined for a bit instead, and then I was just trying to get back to normal life. Rather than talk about how miserable my drive home from Washington D.C. was, followed by the rest of Monday into Tuesday, let’s focus on the second best part of my trip — the food! But first… the giveaway winner is…

Winner

Becky! Who gave a great suggestion for apple styled nachos… sign me up! Shoot me your address to foodosaurusrex [at] gmail [dot] com, and I’ll have chips on their way to you!

Becky

So now onto the good stuff – the food in D.C.! I didn’t have any set plans when it came to where I wanted to eat or what kind of food I wanted to try while there, except for one thing – Baked & Wired cupcakes! I had asked Krissy for some recommendations, and I remembered her stopping for birthday cupcakes there after the Cherry Blossom 10-miler a few weeks ago. While I’ve always wanted to try Georgetown Cupcakes, the thought of having to wait in a long line for cupcakes that I’ve heard are “just okay” wasn’t appealing. So I headed to Baked & Wired instead, and was thrilled with what I found. The storefront was small, but it was broken into two sections – one for cupcakes and desserts, another for coffee, tea, etc. I didn’t venture over to the coffee line, but from reading reviews online it seems like their coffee is just as good as their cupcakes. I should mention that they call them cake cups, which is appropriate since they are huge!

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

We decided to get four cupcakes – one to enjoy right then, and another to save for Sunday. We wound up with the Tessita, Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, and Flapjack. These cakes are amazing; some of the best I’ve ever had. The frosting was generous, the cake was moist, and the size for only $3.50 was more than enough… I had trouble finishing one! I can’t recommend Baked & Wired enough. The store is cute, the employees are super friendly, and their treats are delicious. I mean, what more do you need? Plus, if it’s nice enough outside (like it was on Saturday) you can sit right outside their shop and lounge while eating baked goods and sipping coffee or tea. Talk about a perfect afternoon.

Aside from cupcakes on Saturday, we had personal pizzas for lunch at Paper Moon, followed by Santa Fe salads from Chop’t for dinner. This was my first time having Chop’t, and I really wish there was one near me. The salads are huge, and when you get avocado, they give you half of one… that’s a generous portion of avocado! I absolutely loved my salad, and on the way back to the hotel (we got them to go), we noticed the street was completely shut down. So, we stopped for a minute, and low and behold, who drove by? President Obama! I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’m sure that it gets old for D.C. residents quickly (especially when it means road closures), but it was so cool to see the President drive by us on his way to the White House Correspondent’s dinner.

Oh hai Mr. President!

Oh hai Mr. President!

On Sunday morning after the race, Ashley and I headed to The Mad Hatter for brunch. We walked in and the restaurant was basically empty, but we were told that they really didn’t have any seats for us because they had a lot of reservations that morning. Huh? We were able to score a seat at an upstairs bar, and got to work on the most important thing – booze! I ordered a mimosa followed by a beer, and Ashley hit up their Bloody Mary bar. That’s right… your server gives you a glass of vodka, and the rest is up to you. Just look at all the options!

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley's Picture]

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley’s Picture]

I didn’t take any pictures of my food (post-race haze) but I had a really delicious Tex Mex burrito with home fries. When we left the restaurant was definitely crowded, but they could have seated us in the regular dining room. I mean, shouldn’t restaurants have seats for people with and without reservations? At least the food was good and our waiter was friendly. I would definitely return, but this time with a reservation!

Dinner on Sunday  night was pretty epic. I spent a lot of time looking through Yelp and FourSquare for suggestions, and stumbled upon a true gem – Founding Farmers. As soon as we walked in at about 6:30pm, thinking we’d beat the crowds especially since it was a Sunday, I knew we made a good choice. We were told that the wait would be about an hour and a half, and I quickly learned that once again reservations reigned supreme. We decided to wait based on the reviews we read and the fact that it was so crowded, and I’m really glad we did. The restaurant was founded on the premise of a farm to table concept (my favorite!) and is D.C.’s first green restaurant. They filter their own water, make everything from scratch in the kitchen (down to their condiments), and have a pre-prohibition era styled bar where their bartenders make their own syrups and infuse the alcohol themselves with juices, etc.

After waiting about an hour and a forty-five minutes we were seated, and had the nicest, most informative, and attentive waitresses I’ve ever had. She really was exceptional. Our meal started with their popcorn of the day (how cool is that?!) which was Old Bay seasoned, and fried green tomatoes. They were featuring Rogue beers on tap, so we each had one of those as well. Their menu is expansive, and I was really excited to see a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. Their regular menu denotes vegetarian and vegan (as well as nut allergy) options, but they also create vegetarian and vegan specials that all sound phenomenal. I was actually confused at first when I glanced over it seeing things like “bacon burger,” “shrimp scampi,” and “turkey burger.” Obviously they were all meatless, and it was awesome to know I could choose anything.

Not the best picture... but all those options are veg*n!

Not the best picture… but all those options are veg*n!

I eventually decided on the cauliflower steak with broccolini and risotto… and it was amazing. The cauliflower was nice and crunchy while maintaining it’s buttery flavor, and the fried onion strings that it was topped with added some extra flavor and crunch. For whatever reason I’ve found that people either really enjoy cauliflower or really can’t stand it, and I’m obviously in the enjoying it camp. But I really believe that this dish would convert someone with apathetic feelings towards cauliflower. It was fun using a steak knife to dig into a big hunk of cauliflower! I’d be remiss not to mention the risotto, because it really stole the show for me. It was creamy, cheesy, and everything I could want in a risotto dish… I just wish there had been more.

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

While we were waiting for our entrees, our waitress brought over their dessert menu, which I thought was absolutely genius on her part (get someone to commit to dessert before filling up on their entree). She pointed out their homemade biegnets, which under normal circumstances I would have been all over… but I knew based on how I felt before our meals even arrived that there was no way dessert could be in my immediate future. So we passed on their delicious sounding desserts, but a couple next to us got the biegnets, and you better believe I plan to order them if I’m ever back in town!

Nice neighborhood, eh?

Nice neighborhood, eh?

And unfortunately, that’s where our eating in D.C. stops. As I mentioned in my Nike Half recap, I woke up feeling okay on Monday morning with plans of coffee, but eventually started feeling sick. By the time I got home (about a 3 1/2 hour drive), it was only a matter of minutes before I was out for the count the rest of the day and into Tuesday. Obviously that was not the way I wanted to end the trip, but I’m thankful it didn’t happen while I was there!

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Giveaway, Restaurant, Running, Travel

Tex-Mex Obsession

I hope that everyone in the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed the gorgeous weather we had all week! I am lucky enough to have the flexibility to work from home a few times a week so I made sure to take advantage of it; especially on Tuesday when it was 80 degrees! Unfortunately the weather isn’t sticking around, but I’m okay with it – I don’t think I’m ready for summer temperatures just yet. So even though I’ve been grilling and enjoying beers outside, I’m still doing a fair amount of indoor cooking… I’ll resort to grill-only foods come July, I’m sure.

The majority of recipes you’ll find on the blog are Tex-Mex, so it never comes as a surprise to someone when I proclaim “I love Tex-Mex food!” More specifically I love Mexican food, and Tex-Mex is a byproduct of living in the USA. Thankfully I don’t live too far from New Brunswick, where 49.93% of the population is Hispanic or Latino (2010 Census results) and as a result has a lot of really delicious and authentic Mexican restaurants (my favorite is Costa Chica on Handy St., for the locals!). So when I was thinking about more ways to incorporate some of my favorite flavors into a dish, I immediately thought of macaroni and cheese.

KickAss5k-001

After my run!

After completing Abby’s Kick Ass 5k, I got to work in the kitchen. But before we get into the recipe, I have to give a little plug for Abby. Even though the 5k is over, you can still head to her Team Challenge page and donate. Long story short, Abby is an incredibly strong woman who has ulcerative colitis and is running a half marathon in June with Team Challenge (in conjunction with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation) to help raise money for the foundation. As a fellow IBD sufferer, of course I had to donate to the cause, and I hope you’ll consider it, too!

The recipe uses veggie sausage, but you can either leave it out completely or use real sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey. And the recipe can be turned vegan if you use non-dairy cream cheese, shredded cheese, and milk. Since I’m slightly sensitive to dairy, this definitely isn’t a meal I would eat often… but it’s fun to indulge every once in awhile (though suffering the consequences isn’t fun)!

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake | Foodosaurusrex.com

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. pasta (I used rotini, but small shells, elbow, etc. will work)
4 oz. veggie sausage or ground beef substitute (or ground turkey or beef if you aren’t vegetarian)
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chipotle taco seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp adobo
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese blend
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil and add the diced onion and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Then set aside.
4. Add your meat of choice to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until it begins to brown.
5. Add black beans followed by spices, and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Add in cooked pasta.
6. Once well combined, add in the cream cheese, shredded cheese blend, and milk, stirring to combine until all the cheese is melted. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs.
7. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and spread the pasta mixture evenly. Feel free to sprinkle a little extra shredded cheese on top for good measure.
8. Bake for 15 minutes until top begins to brown.

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Perfect Tofu

Of course on the same day I blogged about not having any good recipe ideas, I came up with what I’d like to think is a pretty decent tofu marinade. I know a lot of people aren’t tofu fans, but as a vegetarian, the big ‘ole block of soy is a really versatile way for me to get some extra protein. As long as you have a good marinade and cook it properly, I think it can be really delicious. Up until this point, my favorite was this Spicy Peanut Baked Tofu, which is easy, but not extremely versatile. I’ve never really used tofu outside of stir-fry styled dishes or egg replacements, but I’ve seen plenty of seasoned and marinated tofu “steaks” in stores, so I figured I would try my own.

One thing I’ve noticed in most vegetarian recipes that attempt to be meat replacements, is the use of soy sauce. So, I went to my pantry, grabbed a whole bunch of spices that I thought would go well together and soy sauce, and got mixing. This can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, and the beauty of a marinade is that the longer it sits, the better it winds up tasting. I served these tofu “steaks” with some brown rice, black beans, and salsa. I think it would probably be equally as delicious on a baguette with sautéed onions and peppers… I’ll definitely be trying that next!

TofuSteak2

Baked Tofu Steaks
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Press the excess water out of the tofu (for at least 10 minutes). If you don’t have a tofu press, a big cookbook with the tofu between two plates will work – just make sure you have a towel under it! 
3. In a bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, liquid smoke, and spices) and pour into a shallow baking dish or tupperware container.
4. Slice the tofu in half long-ways, and then in half again so you have 4 rectangular pieces.
5. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish with the marinade, and let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes flip to the other side, and allow it to sit for an additional 15 minutes.
6. Place the tofu on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
7. Serve with rice and beans for a Southwestern flare, enjoy on a baguette, or by itself!

2 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Enough For Me & You

Whenever I make a recipe that provides enough for leftovers, my appreciation for the recipe doubles. Why, you may ask? Because it gives me either a delicious option for lunch the next day, or even better, a night off in the kitchen! A lot of recipes I make suggest that they are at least 4 servings, but I rarely find myself with leftovers (between the two of us in the house). So, whenever there’s a huge casserole or Dutch oven meal on the week’s menu, I can count on that providing me some type of leftover; whether it’s enough for one or two people is another story.

As always, I try to make sure that my meals are as balanced as possible; vegetables, protein, healthy fats… you know the drill. Since I take medication daily, my gastroenterologist likes for me to have blood work every so often just to make sure the medicine isn’t affecting anything negatively. I actually just had some routine blood work last week, and they mailed me a copy of the results. I’m happy to report that pretty much everything was within the “normal” range! I’ve got plenty of blood protein, calcium, and all the other goodies that people often swear vegetarians don’t get enough of. So even though my gut doesn’t work properly, my blood is in good shape! At least I know I’m doing something right.

But now that we’ve talked about my blood, let’s get back to food… I’m currently trying to ramp up my mileage (only a little) and intensity (a little more) for a half marathon in April. I’m actually running two half marathons in April – the RU Unite Half Marathon that I’ve run the last 3 years (and was my first!), and then a week later the Nike Women’s Half. I’m hoping to PR at the first, and then enjoy the second. I would love to run a 1:45 (or faster, of course), and I think it’s possible since I had to walk a few minutes due to a side cramp last year and finished in 1:47. As always, running has seriously increased my appetite, which is huge to begin with. So, when I found a big ‘ole strata recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, I knew I had to make it.

I had to make some changes to the recipe, most notably because one of the main ingredients was sausage. I’ve been completely obsessed with soy chorizo the past few months, so I knew that would be a perfect replacement. I’ve had the soy chorizo from both Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop, and they are both equally delicious, and easy to use in anything from a burrito to an omelet. This particular recipe includes things I love; spicy chorizo, eggs, bread (yay carbs!), cheese, and a solid dose of leafy greens. It’s perfect to whip together before work and then cook when you get home, make the night before having brunch, or do all at once (since it really doesn’t take that long). I love the versatility of stratas, and this recipe is no different!

ChorizoChard

Vegetarian Chorizo & Chard Strata adapted from Martha Stewart
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
1 package of Soy Chorizo (or 1lb. of regular chorizo)
1 tbsp olive oil*
1 small onion, diced (can be yellow, white, Spanish)
1 bunch of Chard (Swiss or red), roughly chopped
1 baguette (day old is best), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of smoked Gruyere or Gouda cheese
7 eggs
2 1/2 cups of milk (any dairy or non-flavored and unsweetened non-dairy kind will do)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium sauté pan, cook the chorizo and set aside.
3. In the same pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. *If you are using real chorizo, you do not need to add the oil – you can use the fat from the meat.
4. Next add in the chard, salt, and pepper, and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes. 
5. In a 9×11 greased baking dish, layer half the chorizo, followed by the chard and onion mixture, then sliced baguette. Follow with another layer of chorizo and then chard. 
6. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour over the casserole dish, doing your best to distribute evenly. Top with cheese. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, but can go up to overnight. 
7. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving! 

Do you have any favorite dishes you make that always give you leftovers?

2 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Another Week

It’s been a week since superstorm Sandy touched down in the greater tri-state area and wreaked havoc. A week of working from home, running as much as possible, and trying to keep up with the news while simultaneously trying to keep my tears at bay. It’s hard to believe that places I grew up and know so well have been forever changed; and more importantly than that, the friends and family that have had their lives changed as well. As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to retain power through the storm and not to suffer any damages myself. My office, as well as my parents, however, haven’t had power since late Sunday, with reports of it not coming back until the end of this week. While it’s easy to get angry at a lack of heat and power, in the grand scheme of things, it could be much worse.

That being said, even though our oven isn’t working, I’ve been cooking up a storm. My most recent creation was vegan buffalo lasagna. All my GI woes have gotten a little better, and while going gluten-free didn’t seem to make a difference, my doctor has suggested I lay low on dairy. I’m still eating dairy, just a lot less. At my last appointment when trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting much better, I just so happened to mention that I loved cheese, and I watched my doctor immediately scribble that information on his legal pad, with exclamation points to follow the statement. Things have been going better, but I’ve also upped my medicine, so we’ll see what happens when I start to dial the medicine back. So, to cater to my new reduced dairy diet and vegetarianism, this particular recipe is dairy and meat free! You can use regular cheese and dressing (and of course add in chicken), but you should give this version a try!

Vegan Buffalo Lasagna
– Serves 4 –  

Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup Frank’s red hot
1 cup vegan Ranch dressing (i.e. Follow Your Heart)
8 oz. vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (i.e. Daiya)
9 “no boil” lasagna noodles

Directions:
1. Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible.
2. Meanwhile, combine the Frank’s and ranch dressing together in a bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, break up the tofu using a fork until it resembles ricotta cheese.
4. Add in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of the dressing mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Take 4-6 tbsp of the dressing mixture to generously coat the bottom of your slow cooker.
6. Layer 3 no boil noodles, followed by 1/3 cup of the tofu mixture, and a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
7. After adding the last 3 noodles, pour the remainder of the dressing mixture, being sure to coat everything. Top with the remaining cheese.
8. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 2 hours.

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Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

When my husband saw that I had “Shepherd’s Pie” on our dinner calendar for the week, he asked me what it was. After I gave him a general description, he immediately replied with, “and WHY haven’t you made this before?!” Of course, I didn’t have a good response, but promised that the dinner would be good… with my fingers crossed behind my back.

Yes, you read that correctly – I have a “dinner calendar.” I use Google Calendars; I have a bunch of my own personal calendars, as well as a few that are shared. Included in the list of shared is a dinner calendar, which allows me to plan out what we’re going to eat for the week based on our schedules, prepare a grocery list, and have a reference so I know what’s coming during the week. In our old apartment, we had a cute little whiteboard that I used to write it down on like a menu, but when we moved two years ago, I never hung it back up – so I switched over to Google instead. It may seem a little over the top, but it works for me. I’m a huge planner and I enjoy seeing everything scheduled and written out, even if I shuffle things around all the time.

While a typical Shepherd’s pie is made with meat, I left it out in my version (though I’m sure some ground beef, chicken, or turkey would go well here). I also decided to put a Southwestern twist on it since I’m obsessed with the flavors. The reason why I even thought of making this was due to the string beans we got in our CSA box. At first I figured I could just serve them as a side, but I wanted to do more with them. After trying to think of dishes they were included in and trying really hard not to just make a giant batch of green bean casserole for dinner, I settled on the Shepherd’s pie. So yes, this “Southwestern” version has green beans in it. I wasn’t sure if it would work for or against me with everything else (corn, black beans, salsa, etc.), but I’m happy to report everything played nice in the casserole dish.

The beauty of a Shepherd’s pie is that you can really throw in it whatever you have on hand, top it with mashed potatoes, and call it a day. Since I used instant mashed potatoes, everything came together in a matter of about 20-30 minutes. This was definitely a winner in my book, and I hope you think so too!

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
2 jalapeños, diced (more or less depending on your heat preference)
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 2 ears)
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups green beans/string beans (I used 2, and it was A LOT, so feel free to use less)
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Adobo
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 package of instant masshed potatoes (or about 2 cups)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add diced onion and jalapeño, and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, until onions begin to become translucent. Add the spices and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Once everything is well combined, add the corn, black beans, tomatoes, green beans, and salsa. Lower your heat to medium, and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring every so often.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your instant mashed potatoes per the package directions (i.e. add 2 cups of water to the flakes, microwave for 2-3 minutes). Once the potatoes are done, add 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Set aside.
5. Add the mixture to a greased 8×8 baking dish. Top with the other 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, then spoon the mashed potatoes on top of that. 
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until mashed potatoes are set. 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Spanish Food, Vegetarian/Vegan

Weeds for Dinner

“Dandelions are weeds.” I’m sure that’s something everyone has heard – I remember being told that dandelions were not the cute little flowers I thought they were, but rather are pesky weeds that needed to be removed. I still continued to pick the dandelions whenever I saw them, pretending they were in fact flowers (like the everyman’s flower) even though I couldn’t shake the thought that they were just a simple garden weed. Since weeds grow rapidly and usually in places you don’t want them to (like my entire front patio), they have a bad reputation. Little did I know, though, some weeds are not only delicious, but also super charged with nutrients!

I’m not saying you should go into your backyard, pick out all your weeds, and then sauté them for dinner. I am, however, saying that dandelion greens are more than just the weeds attached to that pesky little flower – they’re a delicious herb that can be used in a ton of recipes.

This weeks’ CSA box came with a bunch of dandelion greens, and while I was intimidated, I knew right away what I’d do with them. After sampling a leaf to see how it tasted raw, it was clear sautéing was the obvious way to go. They taste like bitter spinach, but if you sauté it enough and add in some garlic and other spices, you’re golden. I mixed it with chickpeas and threw it over pasta, giving me a quick and easy meal! Since I’m still trying to be mostly gluten-free (the complete elimination did nothing, so I’m just trying to limit typical trigger foods – gluten and dairy), I used corn pasta with this recipe. Of course, you can use regular pasta (any shape will do), or another grain like quinoa.

Dandelion and Chickpea Sauté
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of dandelion greens, stems removed and roughly chopped (you’ll get about 4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use more or less depending on your heat preference) 
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast for a little cheesy taste, if you’d like 

Directions:
1. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the dandelion greens and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the chickpeas, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano; lower the heat and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. 
5. Serve over pasta or your favorite grain – and feel free to add some shredded or grated cheese, or nutritional yeast! 

4 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

This Week in Yum

Seriously, how is July almost over already? I guess being away for two weeks at the beginning of the month helped make it fly by. I was finally able to get back into the swing of things this week, and despite a medical emergency close call, I made some delicious stuff in the kitchen!

First up was a vegetarian loaf – full of beans and flavor. I wasn’t sure if it would hold together enough to resemble meatloaf, but it did. I don’t even remember how I found this recipe, but I’m so glad I did. It made enough for both dinner and lunch the next day, and I had most of the ingredients already on hand. I definitely want to make this again, and I think it could be just as delicious if I play around with the spices.

On Tuesday I decided to make brussels sprouts, because they’re one of my favorite vegetables. Someone doesn’t like them, so I actually have never made them myself; I’ve only ever had them at my parent’s house. So after checking with my mom to see how she usually makes them, I got to work in the kitchen. It was so easy – I threw about 3 Tbsp of olive oil into a pan, chopped up three cloves of garlic, and tossed the brussels (I cut them in half) into the pan with some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I sautéed them over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, and I had myself a delicious side dish. Since I wound up eating the entire carton myself, they actually wound up being my main dish! So easy. So delicious. I just don’t understand why people don’t like brussels sprouts!

Wednesday was quick & easy pizza after the Downtown Westfield 5k that I didn’t get to run (see above with the “medical close call”), but the hubs did. So even though I didn’t run, I got to enjoy the pizza!

Thursday’s dinner came from a recipe I found on Pinterest (of course) for Linguine with Smoky Avocado Sauce. I had grilled avocado for the first time a few months ago and loved it, and I’ve used avocado as a “cream sauce” before and loved it, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. The recipe itself doesn’t say how much pasta to use, so I wound up using enough for three servings, by just grabbing some handfuls of spaghetti. I really need to get myself one of those pasta measuring contraptions, because I never know how much I’m using when it comes to spaghetti.

In addition to dinner, there’s been no lack of dessert. Most nights of the week end with a little ice cream. Somehow, our cats know exactly when it’s ice cream time – no matter where they are in the house, they come bounding into the kitchen, and subsequently perch themselves on either arm of our couch, stalking our every bite. It may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, but I captured the below picture one night while we were trying to enjoy our dessert. It happens every single time. They’re lucky they are so darn cute.


I have next week’s meals all planned out already, but I’m thinking they may change. I’m picking up our very first CSA box today (and I’m so excited!!), so I’ll need to be sure to incorporate the goodies into our meals for the week. I can’t wait to see what we get!

Did you have anything noteworthy this week? 
Do you have pets that stalk your every move when you eat? 

7 Comments

Filed under Food Review, Vegetarian/Vegan

Pinning Away

For those of you that follow me on Pinterest, you know I pin a lot of recipes. So many, in fact, that the majority of the meals I’ve been making over the past few weeks have come from what I’ve found on the site.

My husband’s birthday was last Sunday, so I had to make some sweet treats for the little get together we had. First up was a batch of peanut butter and chocolate protein cookies from The Frugal Girls that were filling and good for you! I found the recipe Saturday morning, and just knew I wanted to make them.

So easy. So delicious.

Next up was a batch of brownie batter dip. Oh yes. I’ve seen plenty of recipes for cookie dough dip, but this was one of the first brownie batter dips I’ve seen, and I’m so glad I made it. It’s from Crumbs and Chaos and is super easy to make, and you can’t go wrong when it’s paired with some animal crackers. Everyone was impressed with the treat, and I had enough leftover to take a little spoonful here and there throughout the week.

You need to make this NOW.

Aside from desserts (which are the majority of pins I see), I’ve made some really delicious dinners as well. Since it was so hot the past few weeks, I wasn’t feeling anything too heavy or that required serious oven time, so I made this chipotle chopped salad from Nutmeg Notebook one night, which was SO good. I subbed the sour cream for plain Chobani, and served it alongside some “chicken” fingers to bulk it up a bit. I would absolutely eat this salad again, for either lunch or dinner.

Just like a Chipotle salad!

We also had some buffalo chicken chili since it got cooler as last week progressed, and I subbed out the shredded chicken for tempeh. It was really good, and I could definitely see it as a crowd pleaser during football season. You should really check out Closet Cooking’s blog – I want to make pretty much every single recipe.

After spending some time perusing Pinterest, I think I have some inspiration and ideas for some of my own recipes that I’d like to try. Hopefully I can make at least one a week, and share them with you!

 

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Grilled Burritos

Not that I’ve been thinking about it, but I’d just like to throw it out there that going vegan is something I simply wouldn’t be able to do for one very selfish reason – I love cheese way too much! We buy shredded cheese at the grocery store almost every week, and I get antsy when our stash is low. If we happen to buy a block of cheese for something, you can usually find me sneaking a slice (aka a huge hunk of it) here and there. Hi my name is Danielle and I’m a cheese-aholic.

Anyway, after thinking about a grilled stuffed burrito from Taco Bell and seeing a yummy recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up on Pinterest, I decided it would probably be in the best interest of my waistline to try and make it at home instead. Now, my version is by no means “healthy,” but at least it’s vegetarian and I know exactly what’s in it. This recipe makes A LOT, so depending on how much you fill your burrito with, you may have leftovers that would make a great dip with some tortilla chips, or even over pasta (if you leave out the rice in the recipe).

So as you can guess, this recipe has a serious cheese factor. I’ve used cream cheese in a few Mexican/Southwestern inspired dishes in the past, and every time I’m amazed at how creamy and cheesey it makes things, and my next thought is usually, “duh.” Before that I always associated cream cheese with either dessert, or breakfast – but not anymore!

Cheesey Grilled Burritos
Inspired by Jamie Cooks It Up
– Serves 6-8 –

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable broth
1 14oz. can sliced stewed tomatoes
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
1 4oz. can of diced green chiles
1 8oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese blend (I use a cheddar/jack mix)
1 Tbsp chipotle chili in adobo
1/4 tsp paprika
1 cup uncooked brown rice*
2-3 Tbsp masa flour to thicken the mixture (*depends on the consistency of your mixture – see #4)
burrito sized tortillas
Cooking Spray

Directions:
1. In a medium sized skillet, add the broth, rice, and tomatoes. Heat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the beans, corn, and spices, and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes until everything is well mixed.
3. Add in the cream cheese and be sure to stir it slowly to help it melt (I broke the 8oz block in half to help). This will take about 10 minutes for it to fully dissolve into creamy goodness.  Stir in the shredded cheese as well. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. The mixture should be creamy but not too liquid-y because you’re going to need to put it in a burrito. So, if it needs to be thickened, add the masa flour one teaspoon at a time.
5. Heat a separate skillet over medium-high heat,  that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Add 2 generous spoon-fulls to a tortilla, roll it, and add it to the skillet cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

*NOTE: The rice retains a little crunch if you cook it this way. If you’d prefer it to be softer, I’d suggest cooking it either half way or fully first, before adding it in to the mix. 

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Filed under Recipe, Spanish Food, Vegetarian/Vegan