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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

I’ve mentioned one or two times that I have a hard time eating all the meat I am supposed to for the Paleo diet, so every once in a while I like to throw in one of my favorite recipes since my semi-vegetarian phase.  When I used to make this recipe, I used cornflakes instead of the almond flour and a packet of french onion soup mix instead of plain old onions and veggies.  I always felt that it wasn’t as healthy as it could be, but until starting Paleo, I didn’t realize there were other options and ingredients I could swap out to make this more whole and healthy.
I haven’t seen this version of a cottage cheese, meatless recipe out there anywhere (I had to experiment to see if it would work), so hopefully somebody will be appreciate of my approach.  To most, or anyone who is familiar with a Cottage Cheese Roast/Meatless Loaf, this recipe may sound odd and not particularly appealing, but you’ll have to trust me as it is delicious and it holds together nicely once cooled.  The recipe actually ends up being pretty high in protein and good vitamins and low in carbs so it blends well into my version of Paleo.
My preferred way of eating this is on it’s own with a little mustard and some brussels sprouts on the side, but I have also mixed leftovers into eggs for breakfast, which was really tasty.  Back in my bread eating days it made a good sandwich, too!
This makes 2 regular sized loafs and one small loaf.  I found that you can get about 6 big servings out of it.
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 8 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 2 regular sized loaf pans and 1 mini loaf pan with pam or olive oil.

In a pan, saute mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, and peppers until onion is translucent.  This is mainly to cook some of the water out of the vegetables to help your loaf stick together.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the four eggs with a fork and then stir in the cottage cheese, flour, half the can of tomato sauce, walnuts and worcestershire.  Fold in the veggies that were just sauteed.

Pour mixture into the loaf pans evenly.  Spread some of the remaining tomato sauce across the top of each of the loaf pans.  Cook for 1 hr or until firm (the big ones had to cook for about 90 minutes for me to be satisfied they weren’t “jiggly”, but the little one only took an hour).

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I know, I know, it’s been a while since I have posted anything.  Work has gotten in the way of life unfortunately.  Also, my less than stellar cooking skills have kept me from posting a few of the less than noteworthy recipes I made.

All this being said, I needed to get back on the wagon so I scoured the web for the perfect recipe and low and behold came across a Rachel Ray via Smitten Kitchen recipe that I could not resist.  Rachel Ray referred to the recipe as “Never be single again Penne a la Vodka” and oh the irony there for me (and what a silly name)…but I was bound and determined to try it because a) I love Penne a la Vodka, b) it was easy, and c) Smitten Kitchen gave it the thumbs up which I always trust!  She didn’t let me down, this was so good I went back to dunk bread in it because I hadn’t had enough.

As always, this made way more than I could ever eat on my own so I made a little extra pasta for lunch tomorrow, poured a half cup of sauce over top, and put it away to take into the office.  With the rest, I put it in a large tupperware container to save for later, which will eventually turn into 7 ziploc freezer bags so I can save it for a rainy day.

This made about 9 half cup portions (over 2 oz of penne).

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (I like it really spicy so definitely scale back or omit if you don’t!)

3/4 cup vodka

salt and pepper

1 cup veggie or chicken broth

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)

1/2 cup heavy cream (spread out between the servings, it’s not so bad, right??)

16 oz penne pasta

Basil for garnish (chiffonade or tear into pieces)

Parmesan for garnish (shaved is best here)

Begin by melting the olive oil and butter together in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir in the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Pour in vodka and let it all cook down for about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add salt and pepper and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook your Penne.  I like to watch portion sizes so I cook about 2 oz pasta per person (i.e. for myself) but you can make a whole batch (16 oz) and have leftovers for later.

After 20 minutes, stir in cream and bring back to a simmer.  Drain the pasta and stir into sauce (or you can spoon the sauce over the pasta for individual portions).

Top each portion with basil and parmesan.

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Okay, so first of all, I fully realize the recipe I made for Quinoa and Tempeh burgers might have been overly flavorful from some and I also didn’t feel they held together quite as much as I would have liked (don’t get me wrong, they were still tasty and I would make again!).

I felt like I needed to make a much more simple basic recipe for Veggie Burgers that would allow others to have a burger that wouldn’t fall apart and could be adapted to your own taste’s.  I liked mine just as it was, but I could see adding some walnuts for crunch, some sharp cheddar for a bite, maybe some green chili’s to add a mexican flare…any way you like it, this is a good make and bake and or make, bake, and freeze off for lunch kind of recipe.

Servings:  7 Burgers

15 oz garbanzo beans

1/2 cup oats

1 carrot

1 onion

2 eggs

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp Worcestershire

1/2 cup parmesan

salt

pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with Pam, and have ready next to prep area (your hands will be messy so this will make prep easier).

One item at a time, process the onion, carrot, oats, and chickpeas in a food processor until finely chopped.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and add eggs, paprika, basil, oregano, Worcestershire and parmesan and stir until blended.  Add flour and use hands to mix ingredients well.  Form mix into slightly smaller than tennis ball size and then flatten into a patty shape.  Repeat to make about 7 patties.

Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.  When I flipped mine, I flattened them a little as I like them flat on both sides.

Nutritional Value courtesy of Calorie Count

Serving ideas:

  • In a pita, with tzatziki sauce, tahini, cucumbers and tomatoes
  • On a bun with ketchup, mustard, and maybe a little cheese
  • On top of a salad!

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It’s a snow day!  I wish that meant that I didn’t have to work, but unfortunately through the magic of VPN there is no such thing as a real snow day anymore.  That being said, the ground is covered in snow, I haven’t been able to leave the house all day, and I just feeling like cooking up something warm and comforting.

My dog on the other hand (who usually will not set foot in the grass without a treat being thrown) seemed to be in heaven.

Who would have thought?  Well, anyways, I love Risotto.  When I stumbled across this barley risotto recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I had to try it.  I have made it about a million times by now exactly as written, but I’ll share with you here my variation.

Serves 4-5

Nutritional Value (Based on 5 servings)

5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used home-made veggie)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and chunked (I did little cubes)

7 oz pearled barley

1 tsp sage

1 tsp thyme

1/2 cup white wine (you can sub this with broth but the wine adds a unique flavor)

Half a bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 of a zucchini

1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed (you can use any beans you want or omit them altogether – sometimes I cook dried beans in the slow cooker and add them in)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup parmesan

salt to taste

In a pot on the stove, bring the broth to a boil.  Once bubbling, reduce heat and keep warm  (you need this to be hot as you add it to the pot of risotto, 1/2 cup portions at a time).

In a separate heavy-bottom pot (I used a dutch oven), heat the olive oil.  Once hot add in the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 min.  Add the barley and let cook for about one minute.  Add in the wine (or broth – your choice).  Reduce the heat to medium and stir the risotto until all liquid is absorbed.

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook the asparagus for 4 minutes (I actually cook it right in the pot where I am keeping the broth warm instead).  After 4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to take the asparagus out and put straight into a bowl of ice water to keep the asparagus from cooking further.  Remove asparagus from water and set aside.

Add 1 cup broth (from the heated pot), and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.  Keep adding the broth in half cup portions and cooking until absorbed (about 8 portions, but you may need more), the barley should start to get more tender and the liquid will start to get thick and dense and will no longer absorb all the way – this usually takes about 4o minutes when I am making it.  The barley will still have a little bite to it as it doesn’t get as soft as rice gets (I love the texture).  Add the zucchini, asparagus, and beans and stir.  Add another 1/2 cup broth and cook for about 4-5 more minutes, until the zucchini is softer.

Remove from heat and add the butter and parmesan.  Let sit for a few minutes and then stir to incorporate it all together.  Portion it out into a bowl and top with more cheese.

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I am always in search of the perfect veggie burger.  The pre-made variety you can get at the store are good, but they are so expensive and I personally would rather know everything in what I am eating.  I have a couple of recipes that I have tried and thought were decent over time, but this was the first one that made me really feel like I was eating something special.  I followed this recipe pretty closely from The Golden Yoke.  It looks like the original recipe came from Moosewood Restaurant’s: Cooking for Health, but The Golden Yoke writer really brought it to life with the great photo’s.

I shook the recipe up a little by using the Maple Bacon flavored Tempeh.  I really think it added a nice kick and gave the burgers a smoky flavor.

I used the leftover sweet potatoes to make sweet potato chips (cooked them right next to my burger but had to take them out a little earlier so they didn’t get burned!).

Nutritional Value (I plugged the recipe into Calorie Count – based on 8 servings)

Serves 6-8

1/2 cup quinoa

3/4 of a large sweet potato, sliced very thin on a mandolin if possible

1 cup water

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic

8 oz tempeh, broken into chunks – I used the maple bacon flavor – makes it smokey and a little sweet

1 tbsp Worcestershire

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp sage

4 tsp soy sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Start by putting quinoa and sliced sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with the cup of water.  I had to add just a touch more water to cover the sweet potatoes and quinoa.  Cover and bring to a boil, cook for 15 – 20 minutes.  Make sure the quinoa is cooked and the sweet potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan and add the onions, green peppers, garlic and tempeh (I just chop and add in that order as I’m done chopping each).  Add in the Worcestershire, oregano, and sage, and soy sauce.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  When the onions are translucent and most of the water has cooked out of the vegetables (7-10 minutes), stir in the tomato paste and mustard.  Remove from heat.

Grab the pot of quinoa and sweet potatoes off the stove, drain as much water from the quinoa/sweet potato mixture as possible.  Mash together.

Combine the quinoa/potato and onion/pepper/tempeh mixture together.  Let cool in the fridge for 30 min – 2 hrs to cool.  To make all the burgers the same size, scoop out a half cup of the mixture and form into a patty, the size of the buns you will be using.

Because I only needed to make one for lunch, I formed all of the mixture into patties and cooked them all for about 40 minutes (I found after thirty they were still a little soft).  At this point, I froze off all but one.  I actually found that after freezing, the patties hold together much better.  I just pop them in the microwave to reheat them.

For the sweet potato chips, I just tossed the sweet potato slices in a little extra virgin olive oil, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper and put them on the tray with one of the veggie burgers.  I had to pull a few off early as they crisped up very quickly and cooked at slightly different speeds.  They were SO good!  Sweet, salty, spicy.  All delicious.

I ate the burgers this time with just ketchup and mustard but think they would be tasty in a pita with cucumber,tzatziki, hummus and tahini as well.

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It’s not pretty, it’s probably not following tradition, but it is tasty.  This is by far and away my “go-to” dish.  The sweet, salty, spicy combination of crunchy vegetables atop a pile of rice is practically heaven for me.  It took me years to perfect this recipe to my liking as I could never find a version that came out quite right before I just started experimenting on my own.

The key for me?  I make it more like lettuce wraps in that I chop the veggies very small so everything kind of blends together.  I always add small diced celery as it really gives it the unique and crunch flavor I crave.  Sometimes, instead of putting this on rice, I put it in lettuce cups instead – perfection either way.

So here it is, take it for what it’s worth.  Make any vegetable substitutions you prefer – but as I mentioned – don’t leave out the celery (even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of it normally – like me).

Serves 2-3

1 tbsp olive or sesame oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 zucchini, finely chopped

1/2 green or red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 lb snow peas, sliced in 1/4 in chunks

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves

1 inch piece ginger, minced (you can peel the ginger root with a spoon and save the leftover in the freezer)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp reduced sodium soy

2 tbsp hoisin

Brown or white rice cooked or serve in lettuce cups

In a pan over medium high heat, heat oil.  Once nice and hot, add in the onions and carrots, cook for 2 min.  Add the rest of the veggies, peanuts, garlic, ginger, and red pepper.  Stir fry for about 6-7 minutes or until veggies are still a little crunchy.  Add in hoisin and soy – you can add more or necessary depending on taste.  Continue to cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.

Serve over rice or in lettuce cups.  Yum!!

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Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s morning and I have a lot of plans for the year ahead.  I don’t like to think of them as “resolutions” but more just some general ideas to guide me.  Here’s a few of them in case you are curious:

  • I’m looking forward to continuing my time at Cross Fit which means I will hopefully be able to crank out a pull-up by year-end.
  • I have a trip to the spa planned in January (this is really just something to look forward to).
  • I am hoping to complete another half marathon.
  • I want to take some time to learn html, CSS, java script and whatever else that might lead to (I am hoping that will help me pretty up this blog)
  • I would also like to take some photography classes, wine classes, possibly cooking classes…we’ll see.

Anyways, that’s just what’s on my mind at the moment, but let me get to the recipe.

I had a good but uneventful New Year’s Eve with my neighbor’s and my sister and her family.  I decided for our small get together to make cucumber sandwiches because they are always a big hit.

I make these delightful little sandwiches any time I need an easy “go-to” recipe.  Typically, I just use a packet of italian seasoning and a cream cheese/sour cream blend, but I didn’t have a packet of seasoning on hand so I just used my own mix of spices from the cupboard instead.

Ingredients:

8 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (I ended up using closer to 6 oz bc that is what I had on hand)

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream (again because that is what I had on hand – you could use mayo or yogurt)

1 tbsp each:

Lemon Juice, Parsley, Basil, Oregano,

1 tsp each:

Cayenne Pepper (gives it a kick – omit if not a spicy fan!), Garlic, Onion Flakes, Paprika

A pinch of salt and pepper

1 English Cucumber

1-2 loaves French Bread (you can use any type of bread, I sometimes use a loaf of white bread and cut off the crusts)

To assemble:

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, all of the herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Taste mixture and add more herbs and lemon juice as necessary (I ended up using all of the juice from half a lemon).  Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night (I only was able to let it sit a couple of hours and it was fine, but the flavors will develop more the longer you let it sit).

Using a mandolin or very sharp nice, slice the cucumber in very thin slices (I have a super cheap mandolin from target and it works perfectly).

Now, to prep the bread, you can choose from a variety of options.  I just slice the bread into 1/4 inch circles, but sometimes I just slice the bread in half lengthwise, spread on the mixture and then slice in inch wide strips.

Whichever your choice, spread the cream cheese mixture in a thin layer on each slice of bread and top with the cucumbers (I do 3 per slice).

Try to make right before you leave for the event so they don’t get soggy!

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